European Union retaliatory tariffs to hit U.S. products on Friday

Cranberries, cranberry juice, orange juice, sweetcorn and peanut butter are among the other food products targeted.

The trade row between the E-U and the United States is in its full force as the European Commission says it will begin charging 25 percent import duties on a range of American products.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said this week that the 28-nation bloc was "left with no other choice" but to impose tariffs of its own after the "unilateral and unjustified decision of the U.S.".

Calling the European Union response proportionate and in line with World Trade Organisation rules, she said that they would be removed if Washington removed its metal tariffs. Experts say that the Trump administration has been focused on poultry and pork imports as well as India's imposition of price controls on medical devices.

"The rules of global trade, which we have developed over the years hand in hand with our American partners, can not be violated without a reaction from our side", she said.

The first test of whether a tariff war will indeed start comes on July 6, the date on which Trump has threatened to enact the first portion of duties on a planned $50 billion of imports from China.

"The United States' decision to impose tariffs on Europe goes against that". Beijing has vowed to retaliate with its own tariffs on US soybeans and other farm products in a direct shot at US President Donald Trump's supporters in America's heartland.

The EU has also filed a case contesting the legality of the USA tariffs with the World Trade Organization.

Together the trade battles have raised the spectre of a global trade war, spooking financial markets that fear major consequences to the world economy.

Gao's comments come two days after President Trump directed his top trade official to identify $200 billion more worth of Chinese goods that will be subject to tariffs, escalating the ongoing trade dispute.

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