Trump announces tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods

President Donald Trump is sharply escalating a confrontation with China over trade.

The United States will impose a 25% tariff on $50 billion of Chinese exports, the president said early Friday. China vowed to retaliate immediately and said the United States had "launched a trade war."

The US penalty is designed to punish China for stealing American technology and trade secrets. It will apply to roughly 1,100 exports and will target the Chinese aerospace, robotics, manufacturing and auto industries.

Trade between the two countries "has been very unfair, for a very long time," Trump said in a statement. "This situation is no longer sustainable."

US customs agents will begin collecting the duties on July 6, the administration said.US customs agents will begin collecting the duties on July 6, the administration said.

The move represents a serious elevation of trade tensions between the world's two largest economies — just as Trump has also picked fights with allies Canada, Mexico and the European Union over steel and aluminum.

Beijing said Friday it will fight back with tariffs of its own. China previously outlined plans to respond with retaliatory tariffs on $50 billion of US products such as cars, planes and soybeans.

China also said it would scrap promises to purchase more US goods. Those pledges came during negotiations with US trade officials last month.

"In this day and age, launching a trade war is not in the interest of the world," China's Commerce Ministry said in a statement. "We call on all countries to act together to firmly stop such an outdated and backward move, and to firmly safeguard the common interest of all mankind."

Trump raised the prospect of even further escalation. He said that if China retaliated, the United States would authorize another round of tariffs on Chinese goods. He has previously suggested those tariffs could apply to as much as $100 billion of products.

Related: China is killing his business. Tariffs could make or break it

The US tariffs announced Friday will be enacted in two waves. More than 800 exports, about $34 billion worth, will be subject to tariffs starting in July. Another 280 or so still need to undergo a public comment period, and will take

effect later.

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