China warns new US tariff hikes will affect bilateral cooperation

China on Tuesday warned that the latest US tariff hikes on Chinese goods will affect wider bilateral cooperation between the world’s two top economies, urging Washington to roll back the new decision.

This came after the US administration led by President Joe Biden increased tariffs on Chinese imports worth $18 billion.

In an apparent reference to the upcoming US presidential elections in November, China’s Commerce Ministry said “out of domestic political considerations,” Washington was “abusing and politicizing” economic and trade issues.

However, Beijing warned that tariff hikes can “seriously affect the atmosphere of bilateral cooperation” with the US.

The increase in tariffs “violates President Biden's commitment to ‘not seek to suppress and contain China's development’ and ‘not to seek to decouple and break links with China’,” said the ministry.

"It is also not in line with the spirit of the consensus reached by the two heads of state,” the ministry said, referring to the meeting between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in San Francisco last November.

The White House said the move to raise the tariffs was to “protect American workers and businesses.”

“China’s unfair trade practices concerning technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation are threatening American businesses and workers,” the White House said in statement, adding that Beijing was “flooding global markets with artificially low-priced exports.”

On semiconductors and solar cells, the statement said: “The tariff rate on semiconductors will increase from 25% to 50% by 2025.”

Targeting China’s electric vehicles, Washington will increase tariffs from 25% to 100% this year, it added.

It added that the tariff rate on lithium-ion electric vehicle batteries will increase from 7.5% to 25% this year.

Such moves ‘violate’ international trade norms

The Chinese Commerce Ministry said Beijing “firmly opposes and will make solemn representations” with the US.

“This is a typical political manipulation,” said the ministry, adding Beijing was “strongly” dissatisfied with the move.

It said the World Trade Organization (WTO) had “already ruled” that such moves on tariffs violate the international trade norms.

“Instead of correcting the situation, the United States insists on going its own way and makes mistakes again and again,” said the ministry.

Calling on Washington to “immediately correct its wrongdoing and cancel the additional tariffs imposed on China,” the ministry said Beijing will “take resolute measures to defend its rights and interests.”

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters in Beijing that Beijing “opposes unilateral tariffs that violate WTO rules.”

Beijing “will take all measures necessary to defend our legitimate rights and interests,” Wang said.

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