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The Trump administration announced today that it would impose 25 per cent tariffs on imports of 279 items from China amounting to Dollars 16 billion.

This round of tariffs is open to public comment until September 6th.

Still, disagreements between the two major economic powers run deeper than just the trade balance and tensions remain over market access, intellectual property, technology transfer and investment. Beijing is expected to hit $16 billion worth of U.S. goods with equal tariffs in response to Tuesday's move.

While trade tensions are being ratcheting up, China's trade surplus with the USA stood at US$28.1 billion in July, close to the record-high in June, data released Wednesday showed. The administration has said that it will pursue tariffs on an additional $200 billion if China continues to respond with retaliatory tariffs rather than reform of its own trade practice.

The US is also considering further tariffs on another $200bn worth of Chinese goods which could come into effect in September.

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In a statement, the Chinese Commerce Ministry charged that the United States "once again put domestic law above global law by imposing "very unreasonable" new tariffs on Chinese goods".

After a strong start to the year, growth in the world's second-largest economy cooled slightly in the second quarter, partly hit by the government's years-long efforts to tackle debt risks.

Among the products removed from the earlier list on $16 billion of imports were shipping containers, including those used by freight companies. Also removed were splitting, slicing or paring machines.

China has already retaliated against the United States with its own tariffs and proposed others if Washington goes ahead with all its threats. It would likely have to impose penalties on US companies doing business in China to make up the difference. But within days, Trump himself backed away from the deal, saying talks would "probably have to use a different structure". But as the Trump administration takes aim at Chinese imports, many here feel that the lobster industry has become collateral damage.

Trump's mission to reduce the United States trade deficit via the threat of tariffs has brought him into conflict with China as well as U.S. allies, roiling financial markets and raising fears of a global trade war the International Monetary Fund has warned may undermine the strongest economic upswing in years.


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