US and Chinese negotiators are set to resume trade talks just hours before the United States plans to raise tariffs on Chinese imports in a dramatic escalation of tensions between the world’s two biggest economies.
China says it will retaliate if President Donald Trump follows through, though the Commerce Ministry in Beijing offered no specifics.
The negotiations starting up again Thursday were thrown into disarray after .S officials accused the Chinese of reneging on commitments they’d made in earlier rounds of talks.
In response to the backsliding, the United States is raising tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports from 10% to 25% at 12:01 am Eastern time Friday.
The two countries are sparring over US allegations that China steals technology and pressures American companies into handing over trade secrets.
The negotiations also include complaints about China’s trade surpluses and plans for government-led creation of global competitors in robotics and other fields. Washington, Europe, Japan and other trading partners say those violate Beijing’s market-opening commitments.
Beijing responded with penalties on $110 billion of American imports, but is running out of goods for penalties due to their lopsided trade.
Chinese authorities already have extended retaliation beyond imports by targeting operations of American companies in China. Regulators have slowed down customs clearance for their shipments and delayed issuing licenses in finance and other industries.
Beijing has an array of other weapons including launching tax, anti-monopoly or other investigations that can hamper a company’s operations.