Photo: GT

China vowed on Thursday to take necessary countermeasures against a US decision to impose 10 percent tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods starting on September 1.

The US decision has severely deviated from the consensus reached by the top leaders of the two countries during the G20 Summit in June as well as the right path of solving differences, the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council, China’s cabinet, said in a statement on Thursday.

China is forced to take necessary countermeasures, said the commission.

The US Trade Representative’s office announced on Tuesday that it is delaying planned duties on a range of popular consumer goods including cell phones and laptops to December 15, while retaining the 10 percent additional tariffs on certain Chinese products starting on September 1. 

US President Donald Trump said on August 1 that he would impose a 10 percent tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods.

“Based on the experience of tit-for-tat rounds, the timing of China’s announcement is within expectations as the US government is good at going back on its word,” said Song Guoyou, director of Fudan University’s Center for Economic Diplomacy.

“Despite the timing, China is sticking firmly to its consistent stance toward the US’ maximum pressure by fighting back,” Song told the Global Times on Thursday.

Reciprocal tariffs on US exports to China as well as halting of US farm-product imports are likely to be among the countermeasures, said Song.

An insider close to China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Global Times on Thursday that specific measures will be rolled out after the US tariffs start at the beginning of September.

“China firmly defends its own interests and will not bargain with the country’s core interests,” Liu Jianying, an associate research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation of MOFCOM, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

The imposition of tariffs is not the solution to the trade problem, but China has to take necessary countermeasures responding to the US move to tear up the agreement. China is confident and has the ability to weather the storm, Liu noted.

The tariff war is harmful to both China and the US. The two sides should resolve differences through consultation on the basis of mutual respect and on an equal footing, said Liu.

“Bilateral trade talks scheduled to be held in September might be affected if the two sides cannot fix the current situation in the next two weeks,” Song said.

The next round of high-level trade talks between China and the US will be held in the US in September, MOFCOM spokesperson Gao Feng said in a press conference on August 1.

China and the US held the 12th round of trade talks in Shanghai from July 30-31.