The United States followed through with President Donald Trump's threat to impose tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese exports mere hours after trade talks being held in Washington failed to produce any solution to the standoff.
Tariffs increased from 10 percent to 25 percent on targeted Chinese exports beginning at just after midnight Friday, prompting a promise of "necessary countermeasures" from the Chinese government.
"We hope the United States will meet us halfway, and work with us to resolve existing issues through cooperation and consultation," China's Ministry of Commerce said in a statement. The ministry did not give specifics on how it would respond.
The new tariffs come after trade negotiators with the United States accused Chinese officials of backtracking on multiple commitments made during recent trade negotiations. China has been repeatedly criticized by Trump and other economists for what are deemed unfair trade practices - especially in matters dealing with intellectual property. China's Vice Premier Liu He arrived this week to join the trade negotiations being held in Washington as Beijing and the U.S. seek to bring the trade war to an end.
However, trade talks between the U.S. and China ended Friday afternoon without any announcement of an agreement. Treasure Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that the trade talks had been "constructive."
In a tweet sent Friday morning, Trump appeared optimistic the U.S. would reach a trade deal with China.
"Talks with China continue in a very congenial manner - there is absolutely no need to rush - as Tariffs are NOW being paid to the United States by China of 25% on 250 Billion Dollars worth of goods & products. These massive payments go directly to the Treasury of the U.S. "
However, revenue from tariffs does not go to the Treasury Department. In fact, tariffs act as a tax for importers, who then pass the cost on to consumers.
The president also said he had received a "beautiful letter" from President Xi Jinping of China and they would likely speak at some point by phone.
"The process has begun to place additional Tariffs at 25% on the remaining 325 Billion Dollars," Trump tweeted Friday morning. "The U.S. only sells China approximately 100 Billion Dollars of goods & products, a very big imbalance. With the over 100 Billion Dollars in Tariffs that we take in, we will buy agricultural products from our Great Farmers, in larger amounts than China ever did, and ship it to poor & starving countries in the form of humanitarian assistance. In the meantime we will continue to negotiate with China in the hopes that they do not again try to redo deal!"
Nearly 6,000 items are subject to the new tariffs, including fruit, vegetables, nuts, meat, cosmetics, pet food, building materials, chemicals, electronics.
In March, the United States Census Bureau announced the monthly trade deficit with China fell to its lowest level since 2014 after China slowed its exports to the United States.
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