China vows ‘counter-measures’ to US tariff hike

China said Tuesday it will take “counter-measures” to U.S. President Donald Trump‘s decision to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports and an American business group warned a “downward spiral” in their trade battle appears certain.

The Commerce Ministry gave no details of China‘s response to U.S. tariffs imposed in their fight over Chinese technology policy. But Beijing previously released a $60 billion list of American goods for retaliation.

The Trump administration announced the tariffs on some 5,000 Chinese-made goods will start at 10 percent, beginning Monday. They rise to 25 percent on Jan. 1.

“We deeply regret this,” said a Commerce Ministry statement. “China will adopt countermeasures to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests and the global free trade order.”

The two governments previously imposed 25 percent duties on $50 billion of each other’s goods.

The United States targeted Chinese goods it said benefited from improper industrial policies. Beijing’s penalties hit soybeans and other farm goods from states that voted for Trump in 2016.

If China retaliates, Trump threatened Monday to add a further $267 billion in Chinese imports to the target list. That would raise the total affected by U.S. penalties to $517 billion — covering nearly everything China sells the United States.

The American Chamber of Commerce in China warned Washington is underestimating Beijing’s determination to fight back.

“The downward spiral that we have previously warned about now seems certain to materialize,” said the chamber chairman, William Zarit, in a statement.

“Contrary to views in Washington, China can – and will – dig its heels in and we are not optimistic about the prospect for a resolution in the short term,” said Zarit. “No one will emerge victorious from this counter-productive cycle.”

The chamber appealed to both governments for “results-oriented negotiations.”

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