WASHINGTON -- The U.S. government on Friday released two lists of products covered by $50 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese imports, including autos and parts purchased by suppliers for domestic production of automobiles.
The 25 percent tariffs are an attempt to stop China from forcing foreign companies to transfer technology to joint venture partners, and also an attempt to deter cybertheft of intellectual property by Chinese government and companies.
China quickly retaliated with tariffs on 659 U.S. imports, worth $50 billion, including U.S. light vehicles, farm goods and other products. About $34 billion of those tariffs will take effect on July 6, on agricultural products.
"The U.S. has ignored China's resolute opposition and solemn representation, and has insisted on adopting behaviors that violate WTO rules," China's commerce ministry said.
"If the United States takes unilateral, protectionist measures, harming China's interests, we will quickly react and take necessary steps to resolutely protect our fair, legitimate rights," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told an earlier news briefing.
Friday's retaliatory moves by Beijing would essentially reverse a decision in May to cut tariffs, beginning July 1, on U.S. vehicle imports to 15 percent from 25 percent, a longstanding rate, to counter Trump administration complaints of a trade imbalance.
Tesla Inc., Daimler AG, BMW AG and Ford Motor Co. are some of the biggest exporters from the U.S. to China. BMW's assembly plant in Spartanburg, S.C., is the nation's largest exporter of light vehicles, with shipments to over 100 countries, including China.
Ford has said it ships about 80,000 vehicles a year to China, including various Lincoln models.
China imports nearly 270,000 U.S.-made light vehicles annually, worth $11 billion. The list of cars and light trucks made in China and shipped to the U.S. is small and includes the Buick Envision compact crossover and Volvo's S60 sedan.