China to impose $34bn tariffs before the U.S. as trade dispute escalates

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The German firm makes Mercedes SUVs in the U.S. and ships them to China, its biggest market. "We do not want to fight it, but in order to safeguard the interests of the country and the people, we have no choice but to fight", said Gao Feng, spokesman for China's commerce ministry.

Noting reports that the United States could add a tax on essentially every product shipped from China, Gao said "using the tariff stick to bully on trade runs against the trend of the times".

On Tuesday, the European Union along with China, Japan and Russian Federation cautioned the USA that imposing tariffs on cars and car-parts would harm the American automotive industry. The past two summits, in 2016 and 2017, ended without a statement due to disagreements over the South China Sea and trade.

Over 40 World Trade Organization members are warning the Trump administration that USA vehicle tariffs could seriously disrupt the world market.

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In a commentary on Wednesday, China's official Xinhua news agency said China and Europe "should resist trade protectionism hand in hand".

A second tranche of 284 goods valued at US$16 billion - which would bring the total to US$50 billion - will be targeted after they undergo an additional process of review and public comment, which could lead to a lower total. Economists have warned that the tariffs will damage economic growth and cost jobs, and could escalate into a full-blow trade war between the world's two largest economies.

"We agree with nearly all the complaints the USA has against China, it's just we don't agree with how the United States is handling it", another diplomat said.

The industry source said Beijing had been unable to address the Trump administration's concerns on Chinese trade policies in at least five key area, including forced technology transfers, Chinese industrial overcapacity, government subsidies, SOE reform, and Beijing's restrictions in the cloud computing industry.

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China has issued a safety warning to its citizens travelling to the United States amid rising tensions between the sides over accusations of unfair trading practices and other disputes.

Yesterday, the EU's top two officials warned about greater trade tensions with the U.S. as Mr Trump weighs tariffs on foreign cars after irking American allies with metal-import levies. "It was never comfortable with the West being one bloc", said a European official involved in EU-China diplomacy. "Security personnel have detained and/or deported US citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the Chinese government".

Steep US tariffs on tens of billions in Chinese goods are due to take effect at midnight today.

The Central Bank of Nigeria is wooing local businesses importing goods from China to use the yuan instead of the United States' dollar in its effort to support the naira and boost reserves. "It's unlikely to mark a systemic change".

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