Washington DC, May 9 (EFE).- Beijing vowed to retaliate on Friday to the United States imposing tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods after the two sides failed to reach an agreement to end their trade war before a midnight deadline.
On May 5, United States President Donald Trump set a deadline of midnight Thursday for a deal to be struck with Beijing. This was not reached and therefore at one minute past midnight, the US raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent.
China “deeply regrets” the US tariff hike and “will have to take necessary countermeasures,” state news outlet Xinhua reported in response.
A statement from the Ministry of Commerce said that it hoped both sides could work together to resolve their issues through “cooperation and dialogue”.
Despite not reaching an agreement on Thursday, the two sides agreed to continue on Friday with negotiations, which are now expected to center around a pact that allows the removal, reduction or containment of the impact of the tariffs.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held a working dinner in Washington with China’s top negotiator on Thursday and agreed to continue discussions the next morning, the White House said.
Prior to the dinner, Lighthizer and Mnuchin had met Trump to bring him up to date on the day of negotiations with China, White House spokesperson Judd Deere said in a statement.
Trump warned in December that if no agreement with Beijing was reached before Mar. 1 that the US would raise the tariffs.
But he later opted to push back that deadline to allow negotiators more time to work out their differences and until Sunday when Trump threatened again to raise the tariffs, there were hopes that he and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, would meet in the near future to sign a trade agreement.
“We were getting very close to a deal then they started to renegotiate the deal. We can’t have that,” Trump said Thursday.
The US president said that it was still possible to reach an agreement with China and said that he had received a “beautiful letter” from Xi saying he wanted to work together.
Since December, Beijing has taken goodwill measures such as lowering tariffs on vehicles imported from the US, resuming purchases of US soybeans and introducing legislation to prohibit forced technology transfers.
But as a condition for not imposing higher tariffs on products such as textiles, food products and fuel, Washington is also demanding that Beijing commit to making structural changes to its economy that, among other things, ensure protection for American companies’ intellectual property.