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Donald Trump re-election flags being made in China despite imminent Trade War

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U.S. cargo ship carrying soybeans in race to beat China's retaliatory tariffs

The foreign ministry in Beijing said retaliatory measures "took effect immediately" with state news agency Xinhua confirming they were also 25-percent tariffs on an equal amount of goods.

Lu Kang, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said: 'After the U.S. activated its tariff measures against China, China's measures against the United States took effect immediately'.

But U.S. stocks edged higher on Thursday, lifted by technology shares, amid hopes that American trade tensions with Europe may ease after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would back a reduction of European vehicle tariffs if Washington abandons its threatened higher auto levies.

USA and European shares were boosted by reassuring economic data from Germany, and as automakers' shares .sxap jumped, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying she would back lowering European Union tariffs on US auto imports after Washington offered to scrap threatened tariffs on European cars.

China lashed out at the USA on Thursday, the day before a trade war is set to erupt between the world's top two economies, saying that Washington is effectively "firing at itself". The products, all sold on Chinese e-commerce platforms, ranged from pet food to mixed nuts and whiskey. They were a small but significant part of sales to Canada, he said.

"We're getting to the point where the trend line is bad and it could get much, much worse, and so we have to talk about the bigger picture in a way that really resonates with people", he said.

German automaker BMW said it is unable to "completely absorb" new Chinese tariff on imported US-made models and will raise prices. North Korea long served as a buffer against America's expanding its reach in Northeast Asia to China's border.

The steel and aluminum tariffs have drawn retaliation from a host of US trading partners.

Buying interest in USA beans from China, the world's top importer of the oilseed, has slowed to a trickle ahead of the tariffs, with one remaining US cargo heading for China still on the water. The tariff comes as the U.S.is just starting to make inroads into China's grain-finished beef market after being banned for 13 years. Some have responded by hiking their own tariffs on USA goods. US exports grew at a steady pace from zero sales to $30 million in sales in just six months, he said.

In the months ahead though, China will struggle to replace the US beans, forcing processors, which crush the beans to make oil and animal feed, to pay the extra duty or find substitutes.

"And that's with all those restrictions on hormones, beta agonists, traceability", he said.

China has retaliated by imposing a similar 25% tariff on 545 United States products, also worth a total of $34bn.

That equates to 700,000 barrels per day, 8 percent of China's daily imports and a large volume for the United States, a newcomer to the Chinese market. Trump's tariffs are meant to pressure Beijing to reform its trade policies.

European pork will gain some ground over the USA, which shipped nearly $500 million worth of pork to China past year.

Abraham Denmark, a former senior USA defense official on Asia, said China has welcomed Trump's sudden shift from confrontation to diplomacy with North Korea and also his decision to halt large-scale military exercises with close US ally South Korea. "We urge the two governments to come back to the negotiation table".

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