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The Trump administration announced today that it would impose 25 per cent tariffs on imports of 279 items from China amounting to United States dollars 16 billion.

In a statement on its official website late on Wednesday, China's commerce ministry criticized the USA move as being "unreasonable", saying it had no choice but to adopt the same measure on an equal amount of American goods ranging from fuel and steel products to autos and medical equipment. But it held off on a final $16 billion as a result of concerns raised by U.S. companies.

March 22:Trump announces plans to hit$50 billion worth of Chinese goods with a 25% tariff.China announces tariffsin retaliation to the steel and aluminum duties and promises a response to the latest USA announcement.

U.S. president Donald Trump has threatened to target all $500bn of Chinese imports. The $16 billion taxed in the latest round brings the total amount of Chinese goods taxed up to $50 billion.

Still, there's little sign the trade threat is hurting shipments just yet.

Exports rose 5 percent year on year in the January-July period while imports grew 12.9 percent, resulting in a trade surplus of 1.06 trillion yuan, which narrowed by 30.6 percent, according to the General Administration of Customs.

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Apples are the seventh largest export to China.

China's trade with the US also continued to rise in July despite the tariffs, with exports up 11.2 percent year-on-year, and imports increasing 11.1 percent.

Among the products removed from the earlier list on $16 billion of imports were shipping containers, including those used by freight companies.

This article was written by Damian Paletta, Amanda Erickson and David J. Lynch, reporters for The Washington Post. Also removed were splitting, slicing or paring machines. Over the weekend, Trump told a rally he holds the advantage over China, adding playing hardball on trade is "my thing".

Beijing has called on United States officials to be "cool headed", but has warned it will retaliate against any tariffs with its own measures. Representatives of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He are having private conversations as they look for ways to reengage in negotiations, according to two people familiar with the efforts.

The United States and China trade goods and services worth about $650 billion each year, the largest trading relationship in the world between two countries.


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