Beijing: China said that it wouldn’t implement tariffs ahead of the US on Friday, after previous arrangements put it on course to do so.

“We will never fire the first shot and will not implement tariffs ahead of the US," the ministry of finance said in a statement late Wednesday, after media reported that Beijing would start levying tariffs hours ahead of the US due to the time zone difference.

Bloomberg earlier reported that China would start applying the duties from midnight on Friday—midday on 5 July in Washington—according to two officials with knowledge of the plans. The Chinese customs service had adjusted their systems so the new tariffs would start being charged as soon as the clock ticks over to 6 July in Beijing, according to one of the people.

Beijing time is 12 hours ahead of Washington. A statement issued by the China’s State Council on 16 June said that retaliatory extra duties on $34 billion of US imports are set to take effect on 6 July.

The US trade representative’s statement from 15 June said that Customs and Border Protection would begin collecting their additional duties from 6 July. Neither nation specified a time.

In the brewing trade war between the US and China, Beijing officials consistently seek to portray their nation as simply being on the defensive against Donald Trump’s aggressive tactics.

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