The United States hiked tariffs on Chinese imports Friday and Beijing announced it was retaliating against American goods in a technology dispute between the world's two biggest economies that President Trump says he is prepared to escalate. Washington imposed 25% tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports, a first step in what could become an accelerating series of tariffs. Retaliatory measures "took effect immediately," said a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang. Hu gave no details, but the Communist Party newspaper People's Daily said the customs agency was carrying out a plan announced last month to impose 25% tariffs on a $34 billion list of American goods including soybeans, pork, and electric cars, reports the AP.
The AP reports the first exchange of tariffs is unlikely to inflict much economic harm on either nation. Indeed, Asian financial markets took Friday's developments in stride. Japan's main stock index, the Nikkei 225, gained 1.1% while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.5%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.8%. But President Trump said Thursday that he's prepared to impose tariffs on up to $550 billion in Chinese imports—a figure that exceeds the $506 billion in goods that China actually shipped to the United States last year. Escalating tariffs would likely raise prices for consumers, inflate costs for companies that rely on imported parts, rattle financial markets, cause some layoffs, and slow business investment. A full-fledged trade war, economists warn, risks tipping the US economy into recession. See the AP for more, including the impacts the tariffs have already had and what could be to come.
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