The United States and China went ahead with tariff hikes on billions of dollars of each other's automobiles, factory machinery, and other goods Thursday in an escalation of a battle over Beijing's technology policy that companies worry will chill global economic growth. The increases came as envoys met in Washington for their first high-level talks in two months, reports the AP. They gave no sign of progress toward a settlement over US complaints that Beijing steals technology and its industry development plans violate Chinese free-trade commitments. The 25% duties, previously announced, apply to $16 billion of goods from each side, including automobiles and metal scrap from the United States and Chinese-made factory machinery and electronic components.
The Chinese government criticized Thursday's US increase as a violation of World Trade Organization rules and said it would file a legal challenge. A foreign ministry rep declined to give details of the Washington talks, saying he hoped the US would show "a reasonable and practical attitude." With no settlement in sight, economists warn the conflict could knock up to 0.5 percentage points off global economic growth through 2020. Ahead of talks, Chinese state TV mocked Trump with a sarcastic video. "On behalf of doctors, thank you for pointing out the need to wean off American goods like bourbon and bacon," says a presenter. Trump has proposed another round of tariffs imposing 25% increases on an additional $200 billion of Chinese goods. Beijing issued a $60 billion list of American imports for retaliation.