After the United States imposed additional taxes on steel and aluminum from China, Beijing retaliated by enforcing tariffs worth a total of 3 billion dollars on more than one hundred goods imported from the US. China protested against the higher steel and aluminum taxes when they were recently announced by officials of the Trump government, saying that these tariffs violated China’s interests.

The atmosphere between the world’s two biggest economies has gotten heated of late, causing speculation of a trade war between China and the US. The Commerce Ministry of China called the new taxes abusive of the guidelines that the World Trade Organization has set. The US, meanwhile, said that the tariffs had been directed towards imports that could threaten national security.

According to a statement on the website of China’s Commerce Ministry, since the new tariffs were only implemented in certain countries, they violated the non-discrimination principle that is a foundation of the  multilateral trading system. The statement also said that cooperation between the US and China “is the only correct choice.”

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It also read, “We hope that the United States can withdraw measures that violate WTO rules as soon as possible to put trade in the relevant products between China and the US back on a normal track.”

One of President Trump’s campaign promises to reduce the US deficit. He has also frequently spoken out against China’s considerable trade surplus with the US. In 2017, it was $375.2 billion.

In March, President Xi Jinping’s government had spoken of a possible raise in tariffs of 15 to 25 percent on various goods such as aluminum scrap, wine and nuts. News agency Xinhua said that this began on Monday, April 2. The increase mirrored the US’ 10 percent tariff on aluminum and 25 percent tariff on steel.

US tariffs have temporarily been withheld for the EU, South Korea, Australia, Argentina, Mexico, Canada and Brazil.

Unfortunately, China is also facing additional levies from the US because of what the US considers as theft of intellectual property. There are plans to impose additional tariffs on Chinese imports worth $60 billion because of this “theft.”

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However, Steve Mnuchin, the US Treasury Secretary, was told by China’s premier economic official, Vice Premier Liu He, that investigations made by the US concerning intellectual property infringed on China’s rights and that China would safeguard its national interests.

This has caused speculation in the Chinese daily, Global Times, that retaliatory levies would be announced in the near future. The newspaper also suggested that significant imports to the US, such as Boeing airplanes and soya beans, be imposed.

But Wilbur Ross, US Commerce Secretary, hinted that the new actions concerning intellectual property would merely pave the way for new negotiations.

In the meantime, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren met with Vice Premier Liu and other officials from Beijing last weekend. Senator Warren tweeted that she and Mr. Liu “had an extensive discussion about how China’s trade-distorting measures end up hurting American workers.”

The Senator also said, “I’ve long been skeptical of trade policy – both at home and abroad – that caters to big corporations instead of working families.”

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Some netizens feel that a Us-China trade war is already ongoing, with China besting the US

Others have defended Mr. Trump’s actions