The United States has lashed out at Beijing after Chinese tariffs on $3 billion (€2.4 billion) worth of US goods entered force on Monday.
“Instead of targeting fairly traded US exports, China needs to stop its unfair trading practices which are harming US national security and distorting global markets,” White House deputy spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said.
China said on Sunday that it would start taxing 128 mostly agricultural US goods at midnight on Monday, including a 25 percent tariff rate on pork products and a new 15 percent tariff on fruits and nuts.
The move came after the US placed tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum and said it would separately impose $50 billion worth of tariffs on other Chinese goods over alleged intellectual property violations.
China said the US decisions had “seriously violated” World Trade Organization principles and “caused serious damage” to China’s interests.
US farmers criticized the new raft of Chinese tariffs, with the Farmers for Free Trade group calling them a “tax on American farmers, brought about by protectionist trade policies.”
The spat has also spooked investors, who fear the dispute could escalate into a trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
Read more: Asian markets jittery over trade war fears
amp/se (AFP, dpa)