The Latest: China ready to retaliate if US imposes tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the U.S.-China trade war (all times local):

4:30 a.m.

China’s government says it is ready to retaliate if the U.S. ahead with a tariff hike on Chinese goods and expressed confidence it can maintain “steady and healthy” economic growth.

A Commerce Ministry spokesman said Thursday that “necessary countermeasures” are ready if 25 percent penalties due to be announced as early this week on a $200 billion list of Chinese products take effect. The Chinese measures target $60 billion of American goods.

The two governments already have imposed penalty duties on $50 billion of each other’s exports in their dispute over U.S. complaints that Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.

Spokesman Gao Feng says “China is confident, capable and able to maintain steady and healthy development of the Chinese economy.”

___

3 a.m.

The Trump administration may be about to slap tariffs of up to 25 percent on an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods, escalating a confrontation between the world’s two biggest economies and likely squeezing U.S. companies that import everything from handbags to bicycle tires.

The administration could decide to begin taxing the imports — equal to nearly 40 percent of all the goods China sold the United States last year — after a public comment period ends Thursday.

The administration has already imposed tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese products, and Beijing has punched back with tariffs on $50 billion in American goods. These U.S. goods include soybeans and beef — a direct shot at supporters of President Donald Trump in the U.S. farm belt.

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