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China says it will not 'fire the first shot' in trade war with US

China will implement its 25% tariff on $34 billion of U.S. goods on July 6 only after the U.S. implements its own equivalent tariff on imports from the Asian nation, China's Ministry of Finance said July 4.

"We absolutely will not fire the first shot, and will not implement tariff measures ahead of the United States doing so," the finance ministry said in the statement.

The Ministry said it would it impose its tariffs, set to go into effect July 6, after the U.S. does so at midnight ET, due in part to the 12-hour time difference between Beijing and Washington. Imposing the tariffs at midnight local Beijing time would have put them ahead of the United States' tariffs.

China's tariffs are a retaliatory measure after the Trump administration announced June 15 that it would impose a 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of goods from China, with a first batch targeting $34 billion worth of imports going into effect July 6. The U.S. is expected to release a list of a remaining $16 billion of Chinese products to hit with tariffs by the end of August.

China has targeted a number of high-value imports from the U.S., including soybeans, automobiles, meat, fish, fruits and vegetables. The U.S. tariff on imports from China, meanwhile, targets 818 different product categories, including personal computer components, fuel pumps, automotive products and construction equipment.

The July 6 tariffs mark a tangible step in the escalating trade spat between the two economic powerhouses, one that has stoked fears in global markets that the tariffs could upend supply chains, cost jobs, and increase production and consumer prices.

President Donald Trump on June 18 also instructed the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to look into imposing a 10% tariff on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports should China follow through on its plans to retaliate against the $34 billion measure. Should China retaliate against the $200 billion measure, the U.S. would look into tariffs against another $200 billion of Chinese goods, Trump said.