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China blasts Trump's new trade tariffs

China is upset over President Trump's decision to impose tariffs on U.S. imports of solar panels and washing machines...

Posted: Jan 23, 2018 9:47 AM
Updated: Jan 23, 2018 9:47 AM

China is upset over President Trump's decision to impose tariffs on U.S. imports of solar panels and washing machines.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry on Tuesday expressed "strong dissatisfaction" over the move, saying it "aggravates the global trade environment."

The tariff of 30% on foreign solar panels is a blow for China, the world's biggest supplier of the products. Beijing has been widely accused of heavily subsidizing its domestic solar industry and flooding global markets with cheap panels.

The new measures -- announced Monday by top U.S. trade official Robert Lighthizer -- are Trump's first significant trade actions of 2018.

Related: Trump slaps tariffs on foreign solar panels and washing machines

The Chinese Commerce Ministry called the U.S. investigation that led to the tariffs "an abuse" of the trade measures available to the Trump administration.

Experts have warned that trade issues are set to put a heavy strain on relations between the world's two largest economies this year.

With Trump expected to make big decisions on possible tariffs in other areas in the coming months, Beijing urged his administration to tread carefully.

Related: Trump and China: 2018 could get nasty

"China hopes the U.S. will exercise restraint in using trade restrictions," the ministry said in a statement, warning that it will "resolutely defend its legitimate interests."

Other countries and companies are also firing back against the Trump administration's announcement. Here's what they're saying:

South Korea: We're taking this to the WTO

South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong called Trump's decision "excessive and a clear violation" of World Trade Organization rules.

South Korea plans to file a complaint with the WTO over the move to impose tariffs, Kim said at a meeting with industry officials.

"The U.S. opted for a measure that puts the domestic political situation above international rules," he said.

Related: Washing machine wars: U.S. backs Whirlpool in trade fight with Samsung

South Korea is one of the main losers from the U.S. tariffs on washing machines. Two of its biggest companies, Samsung and LG, are key suppliers to the American market.

The Trump administration is already engaged in talks with the South Korean government to overhaul the free trade pact between the two countries.

Mexico: We'll respond with 'all legal resources'

Mexico, one of the top three U.S. trading partners, said it "laments" Trump's trade action.

"Mexico will utilize all legal resources available in response to the U.S. decision," the country's Economy Ministry said Monday.

The U.S. imported solar panels worth $1.1 billion and washing machines worth $278 million from Mexico in 2016, the ministry said, citing U.S. Census Bureau data.

Related: NAFTA is close to falling apart with time running out

Samsung and LG both make washing machines in Mexico that are exported to the U.S.

The Trump administration is in the midst of talks with Mexico and Canada to renegotiate NAFTA, the free trade agreement that binds the three North American nations.

-- Serenitie Wang, Taehoon Lee and Patrick Gillespie contributed to this report.

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