Chinese exports accelerate as U.S. prepares new tariffs in heated row

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

China fired back warning it would impose duties on $60 billion in United States goods.

The trade representative's office also accused China of "cyber intrusions into USA commercial computer networks to gain unauthorized access to commercially valuable business information".

Customs will begin collecting the duties on 279 product lines, down from 284 items on the initial list, as of August 23, the U.S. Trade Representative's Office said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.

And President Donald Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on virtually everything China sells to the United States. Chinese imports of goods and services into the United States a year ago amounted to almost $524 billion. Washington has long criticized China's trade surplus with the United States and has demanded Beijing cut it.

Over the weekend, Trump said he had the upper hand in the trade war, while Beijing responded through state media by saying it was ready to endure the economic fallout.

The U.S. said it will begin imposing 25 per cent duties on an additional US$16 billion in Chinese imports in two weeks, escalating a trade war between the world's two biggest economies.

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After a strong start to the year, growth in the world's second-largest economy cooled slightly in the second quarter, partly hit by the government's years-long efforts to tackle debt risks.

"We expect export growth to cool in the coming months, though this will primarily reflect softer global growth rather than United States tariffs, the direct impact of which will continue to be mostly offset by the renminbi's (yuan's) recent depreciation".

Trump, who has boasted that trade wars are "easy to win", has threatened to ramp up the pressure and slap tariffs on virtually all of China's exports to the United States if Beijing does not back down and take steps to reduce the $335 billion U.S. trade deficit with that country. But it held off on a final $16 billion as a result of concerns raised by U.S. companies.

John Neuffer, president and CEO of the Semiconductor Industry Association, said in a statement they were disappointed and puzzled why semiconductors remain on the final tariff list.

In March 2018, the USTR had released the findings of its "exhaustive" Section 301 investigation that found China's acts, policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation are "unreasonable and discriminatory and burden U.S. commerce".

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