China has filed a complaint against the US at the World Trade Organization after Donald Trump’s threats to place tariffs on an additional $200bn (£150bn) worth of Chinese goods. The one-sentence announcement by the ministry of commerce comes less than a week after the US president called for a second round of tariffs on China, in retaliation for Chinese tariffs placed on American goods.
On 6 July, the US imposed 25% tariffs on $34bn in Chinese goods, prompting Beijing to hit back with levies on the same amount of US exports to China. In response, the White House last week released a wide-ranging list of Chinese goods, from tobacco to pet food, worth $200bn it would target with a 10% tariffs. Beijing said it would “fight back as usual” and would file a complaint with the WTO.
The latest round of tariffs would not come into effect until September, making China’s response uncharacteristically quick. Up to now Beijing has waited for Washington to “fire the first shot” in the escalating trade war.