US hits China with new wave of 15% tariffs (Lead)

Washington, Sep 1 (IANS) The US on Sunday imposed fresh tariffs on $112 billion worth of Chinese imported goods, marking a sharp escalation of the bruising trade war between the world's two largest economies.

So far, Washington has imposed tariffs on some $250 billon of Chinese goods, while Beijing has retaliated with tariffs on $110 billion of US products, reports the BBC.

The latest tariffs come into force at 12.01 am on Sunday, according to the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR).

On August 23, US President Donald Trump announced that from September 1 onwards, he would raise tariffs from 10 per cent to 15 per cent on a substantial portion of Chinese imports in response to levies by China on American goods.

Trump also announced another increase in tariffs that is set to come into effect next month.

Sunday's move is the first phase of Trump's latest plan to place 15 per cent duties on $300 billion of Chinese imports by the end of the year.

The USTR has not however clarified the value of goods due to be hit with the first round.

Products to be targeted range from meat and cheese to pens and musical instruments.

The 15 per cent rate supersedes the 10 per cent originally planned and was announced last week as tensions between the two sides escalated.

In retaliation, China imposed a 5 per cent levy on crude oil, along with measures targeting $75

billion of US goods.

The measures included extra tariffs of 5 per cent and 10 per cent on nearly 1,717 targeted products.

The second round of tariffs slated to be imposed from December 15, includes clothing, footwear and technology like phones and computers, reports the BBC.

In addition, the Trump administration plans to raise the rates on existing duties from 25 per cent to 30 per cent on October 1.

The USTR said that, until September 20, it would be collecting public comments on the planned tariff increases to 30 per cent.

Trump launched the trade war as part of his "America First" bid to lower a wide trade deficit with China, but the tariffs imposed thus far have barely made a dent in that gap.

--IANS

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