China has imposed new tariff hikes on US goods and accused Washington of bullying, giving no sign of compromise in an intensifying battle over technology that is weighing on global economic growth.
The General Administration of Customs said it started collecting additional taxes of 5 and 10 per cent on a 60 billion dollar list of 5,207 American goods from honey to industrial chemicals at noon. That coincided with the time for the US President, Donald Trump's planned tariff hike on 200 billion dollars of Chinese imports to take effect, though there was no immediate US government confirmation it was collecting the higher charges.
The conflict stems from US complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. American officials say Chinese plans for state-led development of global competitors in robotics and other technologies violate its market-opening obligations and might erode US industrial leadership.
Communist leaders offered to narrow their politically sensitive, multibillion-dollar trade surplus with the US by purchasing more natural gas and other American exports. But they have rejected pressure to change industry plans they see as a path to prosperity and global influence.
Monday's tariff hike follows a report by The Wall Street Journal that Chinese officials pulled out of a meeting to discuss possible talks proposed by Washington. The Chinese government had given no public indication whether it would accept the invitation.
With no settlement in sight, forecasters say the conflict between the two biggest economies could trim global economic growth through 2020.On Monday, the ratings agency Fitch cut its forecasts for next year's Chinese and global economic growth by 0.1 percentage points to 6.1 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.
'The trade war is now a reality,' said economist Brian Coulton. 'The downside risks to our global growth forecasts have also increased.' Earlier, the two sides imposed 25 per cent penalties on 34 billion dollars of each other's goods in July and another 16 billion dollars in August. Business groups say American companies also report Chinese regulators are starting to disrupt their operations through slower customs clearance and more environmental and other inspections.
The first round of American tariffs targeted goods Washington said benefit from improper Chinese industrial policies. American regulators tried to limit the impact on the public by focusing on industrial machinery and components, but the latest 200 billion dollar list of imports includes bicycles, wooden furniture and other consumer goods.
Chinese regulators have tried to cushion the blow by targeting American goods such as soybeans, natural gas, fruit, whisky and automobiles that are available from Europe, Latin America and other Asian countries.
Trump threatened last week to add an additional 267 billion dollars in Chinese imports to the target list if Beijing retaliated for the latest US taxes. That would cover nearly everything China sells to the US.