BEIJING — China said Friday that it regrets President Donald Trump’s hike in tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese goods, and reiterated its promise to retaliate against the United States.
The Trump administration said it would raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent starting at 12:01 a.m. ET on Friday.
Beijing responded just minutes after the deadline passed for the tariffs to go into effect.
“China expresses deep regret over the development and will have to take necessary countermeasures,” the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement Friday afternoon. “We hope the United States will meet us halfway, and work with us to resolve existing issues through cooperation and consultation.”
Markets in Asia dropped following China’s response, having started the day in positive territory. Japan’s Nikkei Index fell nearly 1 percent in afternoon trading, while the Shanghai Composite Index and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index erased earlier gains..
A Chinese delegation led by Beijing’s top trade negotiator Vice Premier Liu He arrived in Washington on Thursday for the latest round of trade talks.
Under the current circumstances, Liu said he “hopes to engage in rational and candid exchanges with the US side,” Chinese state media outlet Xinhua reported.
Liu added that China believes raising tariffs is not a solution to the problems and is harmful to China, to the United States and to the whole world.
Trump’s surprise move to increase tariffs startled US businesses. Importers received just five days’ notice about the sudden rise in penalties.
“The tariff increase inflicts significant harm on US industry, farmers and consumers,” said Jacob Parker, vice president of the US-China Business Council, a trade group that represents US companies’ interests in China.
“It will decrease the competitiveness of American companies, reduce the efficiency of their global supply chains, and reverberate through the US economy. Pure and simple, this is a tax on the American consumer,” he added.