BY ROBYN DIXON
LOS ANGELES TIMES/TNS
BEIJING – China on Monday announced tit-for-tat tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods as brinkmanship between the world’s two largest economies undermined hopes for an end to a trade war that threatens the global economy.
Saying it would “never surrender” to outside pressure, China published a list of U.S. goods that would be hit by tariffs starting June 1. The list on the Ministry of Finance website includes more than 5,000 items with tariffs of 5 percent to 25 percent.
“We have said many times that adding tariffs won’t resolve any problem. China will never surrender to external pressure. We have the confidence and the ability to protect our lawful and legitimate rights,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang at a regular briefing earlier.
Chinese state media blamed Washington for the crisis and argued that China’s economy and political system were strong enough to outlast the U.S. in a battle of wills.
The editor of the Communist Party-owned Global Times, Hu Xijin, earlier tweeted that China’s countermeasures would be carefully designed to ensure that its plan “hits the U.S. while minimizing damage to itself.”
Hopes for an end to the trade war plummeted on May 10 after the Trump administration raised tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent, a step that could threaten some Chinese companies heavily reliant on American exports.
With the U.S. threatening steps to impose tariffs on another $325 billion in goods, Hu earlier tweeted that such a step would end a stalemate that China would not lose, because of its political system.
Other state media took a similar line. An opinion piece in the People’s Daily condemned Washington’s “reckless leap into the dark” and said China would never compromise on matters of principle.
“The U.S. wielded the tariff stick once again because it misjudged China’s strength, capability and will power. By further escalating the trade tensions, does it really want to push its trade ties with China to breaking point?” read a piece under the byline Zhong Sheng, a pen name often used by the daily to express its opinions on foreign policy.
A Global Times editorial said Washington’s “fierce offensive” would hurt America more than China.
“Washington obviously hopes that the fierce tariff war, which is unprecedented in trade history, will crush China’s will in one fell swoop and force China to accept an unequal deal in a short term.
“However, once the country is strategically coerced, nothing is unbearable for China in order to safeguard its sovereignty and dignity as well as the long-term development rights of the Chinese people.”