China plans tariffs on imports of U.S. pork, recycled aluminum, steel pipes, fruit and wine, according to a Commerce Ministry statement on Friday. China will also pursue legal action against the U.S. at the World Trade Organization in response to the U.S. planned tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the statement said, and called for dialog to resolve the dispute.
Earlier, Trump instructed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to impose broader tariffs on at least $50bn in Chinese imports, as recompense for alleged intellectual property abuses. Officials then went on to roll out temporary exemptions for the metals levies for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the European Union and South Korea.
The announcement of broader tariffs directed specifically at China sent equities tumbling. U.S. stock futures traded lower after the S&P 500 Index closed down 2.5 percent, the biggest drop in six weeks. Stock indexes from Tokyo to Hong Kong tumbled more than 3 percent and the yen jumped past 105 per dollar for the first time since November 2016.
“The U.S. declared a trade war, but China is acting quite restrained. The list that China has announced appears to be a retaliation, but still it is very measured," said Li Yong, senior fellow of China Association of International Trade. "The move sends a message that China is able to fight back, but we still want a trade peace instead of a trade war."
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