China on Wednesday vowed to take measures of the “same strength” in response to a US tariff hike on $50bn worth of Chinese goods in a spiralling dispute over technology policy that has fuelled fears it might set back a global economic recovery.
The Commerce Ministry said it would immediately file a challenge the US move in the World Trade Organisation.
“At the same time, we are preparing to take measures of the same strength and same scope against US goods,” said a ministry statement. “These measures will be announced shortly.”
Chinese officials have given no indication what US goods might be targeted but businesspeople and economists have cited Boeing jetliners and soybeans as possible targets.
The dispute has fuelled fears it might set back the global recovery if other governments are prompted to raise their own import barriers.
The US Trade Representative’s Office said it took the action in response to Chinese policies that “coerce American companies into transferring their technology and intellectual property to domestic Chinese enterprises”.
On Monday, Beijing announced a tariff hike on a $3bn list of US goods including pork, apples and steel pipe in response a higher American import duties on steel and aluminum.
The US tariff hike on steel and aluminum has little impact on China but the latest duties will be far more sensitive because they target what Chinese leaders see as important future industries including telecoms and medical technology.
The Chinese measures announced on Monday raised tariffs on pork, aluminum scrap and some other products by 25%. A 15% tariff was imposed on apples, almonds and some other goods.