China to hit US with tariffs on US imports worth $16bn

A Chinese worker looks on as a cargo ship is loaded at a port in Qingdao Shandong Province

The new set of measures are the second tranche of tariffs that President Donald Trump originally announced in March, following tariffs imposed on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports that went into effect in early July.

While trade tensions are being ratcheting up, China's trade surplus with the USA stood at US$28.1 billion in July, close to the record-high in June, data released Wednesday showed.

Still, disagreements between the two major economic powers run deeper than just the trade balance and tensions remain over market access, intellectual property, technology transfer and investment.

Washington already imposed tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese products on July 6. Washington applied a 25% tariff on Chinese imports including airplane tires and various industrial parts.

The United States and China trade goods and services worth about $650 billion each year, the largest trading relationship in the world between two countries.

China's commerce ministry has announced that it will start imposing 25 percent import duties targeting $US16 billion ($NZ17.779bn) worth of U.S. goods.

A US-China trade war will reduce global output by 0.7% by 2020, with China's economy taking a 1.3% hit and US GDP dropping 1%, Oxford Economics said in a research note on Tuesday, before the new list was released.

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China's surplus with the United States shrank marginally to $28.09 billion last month from a record $28.97 billion in June.

But China exports far more to the United States than the other way round, making it more challenging for the country to hit back against USA tariffs.

The worry is that the escalating Sino-US trade war, rising corporate bankruptcies, and a steep decline in the value of the yuan versus the dollar could put a significant dent on the economy. China's exports to the USA fell by 2.5 percent to $41.5 billion month-on-month, while imports of United States goods plunged 1.5 percent to $13.4 billion, according to data from General Administration of Customs on Wednesday, as quoted by the media.

U.S. president Donald Trump has threatened to target all $500bn of Chinese imports.

The latest charge comes after the US said it would implement another round of tariffs on $16 billion worth of Chinese goods.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative's office could not immediately be reached for comment on China's retaliation announcement or whether this would trigger Trump's next round of threatened tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

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