Trade war erupts as China fights back against United States tariffs

China rejects 'blackmail' on eve of US tariff hike

The duties slapped by the U.S. will make Chinese cough an additional 25 per cent on products such as industrial machinery, medical devices and auto parts.

Imposing additional tariffs will not stop the upgrade of China's manufacturing industry, say Chinese entrepreneurs.

USA officials accuse China of building its industrial dominance by stealing the "crown jewels" of American technological know-how through cyber-theft, forced transfers of intellectual property and state-sponsored corporate acquisitions.

Beijing insists it's the injured party.

China lodged a case with the World Trade Organisation against the USA, its commerce ministry said on Friday.

A China central bank adviser said the planned US import tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods - $34 billion plus a planned follow-on list worth $16 billion - will cut China's economic growth by 0.2 percentage points, although the overall impact would be limited, the official Xinhua news agency reported Friday.

In a research note, Wells Fargo wrote the current level of tariffs is unlikely to have a material impact on the country's economy, but the prospect of a serious trade war is growing. "And it's making American companies less competitive", Gonzalez said. If his administration went ahead with that threat, it would raise the total of targeted Chinese goods to potentially $550 billion - more than the $506 billion that China actually shipped to the United States a year ago.

The new tariffs had little impact on Asian stock markets.

Trump has threatened to impose additional tariffs on Chinese goods if Beijing fails to accede to his demands and instead retaliates.

The president upped the stakes on Thursday, saying the amount of goods subject to tariffs could rise to more than $500bn.

With only $130 billion in United States imports to retaliate against, Beijing has said it will take "qualitative" and "quantitative" measures against the U.S., triggering fears it could cripple the operations of USA multinationals in China. "It's borderline if we're going to make it or not", he said.

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Roy, 54, from Hereford, said: "I'm very nervous, they are very well structured as a side and I am very concerned about whether we can break them down.

Even if the Trump administration doesn't follow through on that threat, more individuals could be affected over time by the tariffs that kicked in Friday.

That would bring the total of targeted Chinese goods to potentially $550bn - more than the $506bn in goods that China shipped to the U.S. past year.

China's tariff list is heavy on agricultural goods such as soybeans, sorghum and cotton, threatening USA farmers in states that backed Trump in the 2016 U.S. election, such as Texas and Iowa.

Midnight Eastern Time on Friday marked the moment the administration's tariffs on Chinese imports went into effect.

On the campaign trail, Trump attacked the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico as unfair to the United States.

"Worrying development with escalation of tariffs between U.S. and China". The crop represents some 41 percent of the value of products on the Chinese retaliatory list.

Erin Ennis, senior vice-president of the US China Business Council, said there was a danger the two sides will dig in on trade sanctions without a clear strategy for resuming negotiations. "Whether other countries have enough to supply them just depends on the world supply".

"There are no winners in a trade war", the chamber's chairman, William Zarit, said in a statement.

"At that point, the USA will be more interested in negotiations, and the Chinese side will also want to come to the table".

Analysts and businesses have expressed concerns about the impact on the U.S. The burden on U.S. consumers could be significantly higher if more taxes are imposed on cars and daily necessities imported from China, said Tai Hui, JP Morgan Asset Management's chief market strategist, in a note.

China has vowed to fight back to protect its economy.

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