First round of USA tariffs on Chinese goods to hit $50B - USTR

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Americans import far more from China than the other way around, however, meaning Beijing may at some point need to look for other means of retaliation.

China's exports growth unexpectedly accelerated in July despite fresh US tariffs, while its trade surplus with the United States remained near record highs as Beijing and Washington ramped up a bitter dispute that has rattled financial markets.

The dollar value of exports rose 12.2 per cent in July compared to a year earlier, accelerating from revised growth of 11.2 per cent in the previous month.

The first round of President Donald Trump's 25 percent punitive tariffs on China will hit $50 billion in goods starting August 23, the government announced Tuesday.

The US says the tariffs are to penalise China for "unfair" trade practices.

The targeting goods that it says benefited from a "made in China 2025" industrial plan, aimed at making China competitive in high-tech industries.

Although the move was expected, it cements the view that there appears to be no effort underway to defuse the dispute between the world's two largest economies that have continued to exchange threats.

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Cars to be exported are seen at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China May 31, 2018.

In July the surplus with the United States was at $28.09 billion, down a touch from $28.93 billion in June, according to Reuters calculations based on customs data released on Wednesday.

The trade representative's office also accused China of "cyber intrusions into USA commercial computer networks to gain unauthorized access to commercially valuable business information".

"Hours before the tariffs on $34 billion went into effect, Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One, " you know we have 200 billion in abeyance and then after the 200 billion we have 300 billion in abeyance". On July 6, the USA began taxing the 818 goods, worth $34 billion, remaining from the April list.

China has already retaliated against the United States with its own tariffs and proposed others if Washington goes ahead with all its threats.

Beijing has called on USA officials to be "cool headed", but fired back warning it would impose duties on an additional $60 billion in United States goods, a threat the White House dismissed as "weak". Last year, China imported about $130 billion of US goods.