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China Announces $50B Tariff Hike On U.S. Goods

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CBS News CBS News
BEIJING, China -

China announced a tariff hike on $50 billion of U.S. goods Wednesday, including soybeans, aircraft, autos. The move came shortly after Beijing vowed to impose measures of the "same strength" in response to a proposed U.S. tariff hike on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods.

China's Commerce Ministry on Wednesday criticized the U.S. move as a violation of global trade rules and said China was acting to protect its "legitimate rights and interests." It said a 25 percent tariff would be imposed, but as CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reports, the date the charges will take effect has yet to be announced.

CBS News asked U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad about a potential trade war with China -- an economic duel that President Trump has said the U.S. would win.

"I don't want to see a trade war," Branstad told Tracy. "I want to see us work together to resolve these problems."

Ask directly whether he thought a trade war with Beijing would be good for the United States, Branstad replied: "No. I think it would be better to work these things out."

China also says it wants to negotiate, and Tracy says with no hard start date yet for any of these tariffs, they remain, at this point, just threats. But both sides are showing off their weapons. The question is will they actually go to war?

Already there are fears the spiraling trade dispute could set back the global economic recovery.  

European markets sank in early trading after the Chinese announcement, and Wall Street was poised for a big sell-off, with Dow futures tumbling 1.8 percent to 23,557.00. Broader S&P 500 futures slumped 1.5 percent to 2,575.00. Germany's DAX fell 1.1 percent to 11,867.14 and France's CAC 40 shed 0.4 percent to 5,130.70. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.4 percent to 7,001.65. 

The clash reflects growing tension between President Donald Trump's promises to narrow the multibillion-dollar U.S. trade deficit with China and the ruling Communist Party's development plans. Those include using access to China's vast market as leverage to induce foreign automakers and other companies to help create or improve industry and technology.

Beijing was reacting to a U.S. announcement Tuesday of a list of Chinese goods targeted for a tariff hike previously approved by Mr. Trump. They include medical, aerospace and information technology.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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