The White House has responded to China's decision to impose tariffs on 128 different categories of US imports - primarily foodstuffs and industrial items. The tariffs, which went into effect Sunday but were previewed more than a week ago, are meant to be a response to the Trump administration's Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum (not to be confused with the $60 billion in section 301 tariffs unveiled later).
In a statement posted on China's Ministry of Finance website, China’s Customs Tariffs Commission confirmed reports from March 23, stating that additional duties on 128 kinds of products of US origin would be introduced from Monday "in order to safeguard China’s interests and balance the losses caused by the United States additional tariffs."
In response, a White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said the US tariffs were justified because China is creating a global steel glut with its oversupply.
"China’s subsidization and continued overcapacity is the root cause of the steel crises. Instead of targeting fairly traded U.S. exports, China needs to stop its unfair trading practices which are harming U.S national security and distorting global markets," Walters said in an emailed statement.
Meanwhile, the Chinese are calling for another round of trade talks with the US after the US didn't respond to China's March 26 request for a dialogue on the steel and aluminum tariffs, per Bloomberg.
Earlier Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president is "doing exactly what he said he was going to do" to help reduce the US trade deficit with China.
As a reminder, here's the list of US imports upon which China has imposed tariffs of between 15% and 25%.