First round of United States tariffs on Chinese goods to hit $50B - USTR

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China fired back warning it would impose duties on $60 billion in USA goods.

China has repeatedly warned it will strike back, and has already begun enforcing or is getting ready to enforce its own retaliatory tariffs, according to Reuters.

Customs will begin collecting the duties on 279 product lines, down from 284 items on the initial list, as of August 23, the U.S. Trade Representative's Office said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.

The Semiconductor Industry Association said in a statement that tariffs imposed on semiconductors imported from China will hurt American chipmakers rather than Chinese firms.

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China's closely watched surplus with the United States dipped only slightly to $28.09 billion last month from a record $28.97 billion in June.

Americans import far more from China than the other way around, however, meaning Beijing may at some point need to look for other means of retaliation. However, analysts still expect a less favourable trade balance for China in coming months given it's early days in the tariff brawl.

Although the move was expected, it cements the view that there appears to be no effort underway to defuse the dispute between the world's two largest economies that have continued to exchange threats. In mid-June he instructed U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer "to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs at a rate of ten percent".

In May, Chinese importers trying to beat Beijing's looming counter-tariffs led to a surge in U.S. exports of crude oil and soybeans, temporarily driving down the trade deficit and helping boost GDP growth in the April-June period to 4.1 percent.

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The worry is that the escalating Sino-U.S. trade war, rising corporate bankruptcies, and a steep decline in the value of the yuan versus the dollar could put a significant dent on the economy.

All China's main state newspapers published a lengthy commentary by the official Xinhua news agency, entitled "declaration", on their front pages.

The U.S. and China have been trying to restart high-level talks that broke off after Trump followed through on his tariff threats. But it held off on a final $16 billion as a result of concerns raised by United States companies.

Explaining the decision, the USTR cited an "exhaustive" investigation that found China using joint venture requirements, investment restrictions and licensing procedures to pressure USA companies into technology transfers.

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