Dow futures dive more than 400 points as China plans tariffs on more than 100 US products

  • Global markets rocked as China retaliates against US tariffs announced on Tuesday evening.
  • State TV in China reports that Beijing will levy tariffs on more than 100 products traded with the USA.
  • Measures will include a 25% tariff on soybeans, automobiles and chemicals, according to reports.
  • US stock futures plunge, while several European indices lose more than 1% in morning trade.

Global markets are diving on Wednesday after reports that China plans to retaliate against the US in an escalating trade conflict between the two nations.

China plans to impose tariffs on more than 100 different American products with a trading value of over $50 billion, swiftly firing back at the USA just hours after the Trump administration made similar proposals.

According to Bloomberg, 106 US products are affected, including a 25% tariff on soybeans, automobiles and chemicals. Beijing's proposed levies will impact goods worth $50 billion per year.

The news has spooked investors, with futures markets in the USA, as well as major European indices, and commodities impacted by the tariffs, tumbling. Here's the scoreboard of key assets as of around 9.35 a.m. BST (4.35 a.m. ET):

China's government had effectively pre-announced the measures earlier on Wednesday, with China's Commerce Ministry saying in a statement earlier in the day that it would "soon take measures of equal intensity and scale against US goods."

Zhang Xiangchen, the Chinese ambassador to the World Trade Organisation urged members to "join with China in firmly resisting U.S. protectionism," according to Reuters. 

China's move comes less than 24 hours after the US announced an initial list of the products that will be subject to roughly $50 billion in new tariffs planned by President Trump.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer unveiled the list, which includes a wide array of products including raw materials, construction machinery, agricultural equipment, electronics, medical devices, and consumer goods.

The 25% tariff will apply to roughly $50 billion worth of goods coming from China. The tariffs are the result of an investigation by the trade representative into the Chinese government's alleged theft of intellectual property.

The USA's proposed tariffs target specific industries that China identified as part of its Made in China 2025 plan — an initiative being undertaken by the Chinese government to "comprehensively upgrade Chinese industry."

WTO ambassador Xiangchen said that the moves were "an intentional and gross violation of the WTO’s fundamental principles of non-discrimination and bound tariffs."

Beijing's move is the latest in an escalating trade battle between the world's two biggest economies, a skirmish that many fear could lead to a full scale trade war — something which is widely expected to negatively impact global economic growth.

Last month, analysts at Australian bank Macquarie argued that in the scenario of a "full trade war" the US would enter a recession in 2019, while unemployment would more than double from current levels.

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