China hikes tariffs on US imports as trade row intensifies

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Beijing: China imposed new tariff hikes on U.S. goods on Monday and accused Washington of bullying, giving no sign of compromise in an intensifying battle over technology that is weighing on global economic growth.

The General Administration of Customs said it started collecting additional taxes of 5 and 10 percent on a 60 billion list of 5,207 American goods from honey to industrial chemicals at noon.

That coincided with the time for President Donald Trump’s planned tariff hike on 200 billion of Chinese imports to take effect, though there was no immediate U.S. government confirmation it was collecting the higher charges.

The conflict stems from U.S. complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.

American officials say Chinese plans for state-led development of global competitors in robotics and other technologies violate its market-opening obligations and might erode US industrial leadership.

Communist leaders offered to narrow their politically sensitive, multibillion-dollar trade surplus with the United States by purchasing more natural gas and other American exports. But they have rejected pressure to change industry plans they see as a path to prosperity and global influence.

Monday’s tariff hike follows a report by The Wall Street Journal that Chinese officials pulled out of a meeting to discuss possible talks proposed by Washington. The Chinese government had given no public indication whether it would accept the invitation.

Envoys last met August 22 in Washington but reported no progress. (AP)