Washington: The United States began imposing 15 per cent tariffs on a variety of Chinese goods on Sunday - including footwear, smart watches and flat-panel televisions - as China began imposing new duties on US crude, the latest escalation in a bruising trade war.
US President Donald Trump said the sides would still meet for talks later this month.
Trump, writing on Twitter, said his goal was to reduce US reliance on China and he again urged American companies to find alternate suppliers outside China.
A new round of tariffs took effect from 0401 GMT with Beijing’s levy of 5 per cent on US crude marking the first time the fuel had been targeted since the world’s two largest economies started their trade war more than a year ago.
The Trump administration on Sunday began collecting 15 per cent tariffs on more than USD 125 billion in Chinese imports, including smart speakers, Bluetooth headphones and clothing.
A variety of studies suggest the tariffs will cost US households up to USD 1,000 a year and the latest round will hit a significant number of US consumer goods.
In retaliation, China started to impose additional tariffs on some of the US goods on a USD 75 billion target list. Beijing did not specify the value of the goods that face higher tariffs from Sunday.
The extra tariffs of 5 per cent and 10 per cent were levied on 1,717 items of a total of 5,078 products originating from the United States. Beijing will start collecting additional tariffs on the rest from December 15.
Steve Lamar, executive vice president of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, said on Sunday the new tariffs were “just in time for our most important selling season of the year. They claim that they are hurting China but, in reality, they are hurting us. Prices will go up, sales will go down, jobs will be lost.”
He said the United States “can make progress with China when we engage with them in calm, productive talks, not when we make it more expensive for Americans to get dressed everyday.”
Trump on Sunday cited comments from US economist Peter Morici, who said the tariffs would not affect US consumers that much given a drop in the Chinese currency, and the president called on U.S. companies to find suppliers outside of China.
“We don’t want to be servants to the Chinese!” Trump said. “This is about American Freedom. Redirect the supply chain. There is no reason to buy everything from China!”
Later, he told reporters that talks with China were continuing and the two sides would meet in person in September....