China calls US ‘school bully’ as trade war escalates

China has told the US to stop acting like a “school bully” as the two countries imposed further tariffs on each other’s goods on Sunday.

The trade war between the world’s two largest economies escalated despite signs that talks would resume this month.

The new round of tariffs from both countries took effect from 5am UK time.

Beijing’s levy of 5% on US crude oil marks the first time the fuel has been targeted since the trade war started more than a year ago.

The Trump administration will begin collecting 15% tariffs on more than $ 125bn in Chinese imports, including smart speakers, Bluetooth headphones and many types of footwear.

China, in retaliation, started to impose additional tariffs on some of the US goods on a $ 75bn target list.

Beijing did not specify the value of the goods that face higher tariffs from Sunday.

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The extra tariffs of 5% and 10% were levied on 1,717 items of a total of 5,078 products originating from the US.

Beijing will start collecting additional tariffs on the rest from 15 December.

Xinhua news agency, China’s state media, struck a defiant note. It said: “The United States should learn how to behave like a responsible global power and stop acting as a ‘school bully’.

“As the world’s only superpower, it needs to shoulder its due responsibility, and join other countries in making this world a better and more prosperous place.

“Only then can America become great again.”

The official People’s Daily, of the ruling Communist Party, said in a comment piece that tariffs could not impede China’s development.

The commentary was written under the name “Zhong Sheng”, or “Voice of China”, which is often used to share Beijing’s view on foreign policy issues.

It stated: “China’s booming economy has made China a fertile ground for investment that foreign companies cannot ignore.”

President Donald Trump said he was increasing existing and planned tariffs by 5% on about $ 550bn (£450bn) worth of Chinese imports, after Beijing announced its own retaliatory tariffs on US goods last month.

Tariffs of 15% on cellphones, laptop computers, toys and clothing are to take effect on 15 December.

China's state media has said tariffs cannot impede its development
Image: China’s state media has said tariffs cannot impede its development

The US Trade Representative’s Office said on Thursday it would collect public comments through 20 September on a planned tariff increase to 30% on a $ 250bn (£205bn) list of goods already hit with a 25% tariff.

Trade teams from China and the US continue to talk and will meet in September, while Mr Trump said tariff hikes on Chinese goods set to be put in place on Sunday would not be delayed.

The Trump administration has spent two years trying to pressure China to make sweeping changes to its policies on intellectual property protection, forced transfers of technology to Chinese firms, industrial subsidies and market access.

China has consistently denied Washington’s accusations that it engages in unfair trade practices, vowing to fight back in kind and criticising US measures as protectionist.

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