International desk, June 15: US President Donald Trump is to impose 25% tariffs on $50bn worth of Chinese goods, accusing Beijing of intellectual copyright theft.Tariffs that affect more than 800 products worth $34bn in annual trade are due to come into effect on 6 July.
The White House said it would consult on tariffs on the other $16bn of products, and would apply these later.
If China retaliates, as it has already pledged to do, the US will impose even more tariffs, Mr Trump warned.
Mr Trump said the tariffs were “essential to preventing further unfair transfers of American technology and intellectual property to China, which will protect American jobs.”
The Chinese product lines that have been hit range from aircraft tyres to turbines and commercial dishwashers.
Stock markets dropped in Europe and the US after the announcement with investors concerned about a possible trade war.
China said it would introduce measures of the “same scale and the same strength” immediately. It has previously said American products targeted for tariffs would include US aircraft and soybeans.
“If the US takes unilateral and protectionist measures that harm Chinese interests, we will respond immediately by taking the necessary decisions to safeguard our legitimate rights and interests,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said earlier on Friday.
All trade talks between China and the US would be void if Washington imposed trade sanctions, he added.
The US wants China to stop practices that allegedly encourage transfer of intellectual property – design and product ideas – to Chinese companies, such as requirements that foreign firms share ownership with local partners to access the Chinese market.
However many economists and businesses in the US say the tariffs are likely to hurt some of the sectors the administration is trying to protect, which depend on China for parts or assembly.
Farmers are also worried about harm caused by retaliation.
Economists estimate that the tariffs will hurt GDP by less than half of a percentage point. But the measures could also lead to higher prices and job losses in some industries.
The Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, which represents car parts makers, called the tariffs “taxes that hurt U.S. companies, put jobs at risk, and negatively impact consumers.”