China promises ‘firm and forceful’ measures in response to new U.S. tariffs

iStock/Thinkstock
iStock/Thinkstock

(WASHINGTON) — China promised to take “firm and forceful” measures Wednesday in response to the United States’ proposed levy of 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods.

The American announcement came Tuesday – days after the U.S. began adding 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods.

“We will take firm and forceful measures,” Hua Chunying, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said of the latest round of tariffs but gave no other details of what exactly Beijing plans to do in response.

“It is totally unacceptable for American side to publish a tat in a way that is accelerating and escalating,” the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement, adding that the Chinese government “will be forced” to respond with “necessary countermeasures” to protect its “core interests.”

The White House did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

While the first round of U.S. tariffs focused on Chinese industrial products, which have less of a direct impact on American consumers, the most recent list of tariffs includes fish, apples, and furniture.

Because China imports fewer goods from the U.S. than the U.S. imports from China, it is unable to match U.S. tariffs in value, according to a report from Mizuho Bank.

Both governments have already levied $34 billion in tariffs on each other’s goods, and are considering imposing tariffs on an additional $16 billion worth of one another’s goods.

The escalation of U.S. tariffs on China comes in the wake of American trade battles with Europe, Canada, and Mexico and amid President Donald Trump’s visit to Brussels for a NATO summit.

“Other countries’ trade barriers and tariffs have been destroying [farmers’] businesses. I will open things up, better than ever before, but it can’t go too quickly. I am fighting for a level playing field for our farmers, and will win!” Trump tweeted Wednesday.

Republican senators expressed concern over the escalation of U.S. tariffs.

“I’m not in great favor of tariffs either way….let’s hope we can balance this out so it’s not detrimental to our interests. I don’t want it to be detrimental to other people’s interest either but certainly our interests are important,” Senate Finance chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told reporters Wednesday morning.

Hatch said he’s “mostly concerned about some of the things the president is maybe planning to do.”

“Our international trade is extremely important and we have to start off on the right track and I’m not sure we are right now,” he said.

Meanwhile, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said the effects of the tariffs have been “very, very detrimental” and that he’s “very, very nervous about it.”

“First of all, I’m a free trader. If we can get a level playing field…who wouldn’t want the president to accomplish that?” he said on CNN’s News Day. “But if [Trump] goes over the brink it’s going to be catastrophic. And right now with the soybeans and corn in my state it is catastrophic, with the drop in prices that we’ve had.”

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