Next Move Is Trump’s After China Hits Back in Trade-War Opener


China’s in-kind response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement of tariffs on $50 billion of imports from the nation left the global economy on the verge of a trade war.

Two detailed lists of products on which tariffs will be collected starting July 6 now form the core of the conflict between the world’s two largest economies: One released Friday aimed at curbing China’s industrial advancement and the other aimed at hurting the commodity producers of the American heartland.

China’s response, released in detail early Saturday, now raises the prospect the U.S. will impose more duties following a pledge from Trump on Friday. For now, weeks of shuttle diplomacy between Washington and Beijing, in an effort to reduce China’s massive goods trade surplus with the U.S., have produced nothing — and the very products that China had pledged to buy more of will now be slapped with higher import duties instead.

Things China Was Going to Buy More of to Get Tariffs Instead

“There is very little chance that this three-week delay to July 6 will allow for a last-ditch effort to avert tariffs,” said economists including Michael Hirson, Asia director at Eurasia Group in New York. “A first round of tariffs on $50 billion in goods is locked in and the risk of escalation to a second round is considerable.”

The U.S. Trade Representative’s final list includes 1,102 product lines, down from about 1,300 initially, mainly focused on China’s Made In 2025 plan to become dominant in high-technology industries such as robotics, aerospace, industrial machinery and automobiles. Consumer goods including mobile phones and televisions aren’t being subjected to the tariffs.