Trump doubles down on trade war with China by announcing new tariffs

Dwayne Harmon
June 20, 2018

In addition to the second set of tariffs, Trump also threatened to hit China with a third wave - an additional 10% on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods - if the Beijing rolled out their own wave of tariffs.

"If the US loses its senses and publishes a new list, China will be forced to take comprehensive measures that are both strong in quantity and gravity and will fight back", it read.

The US "practice of extreme pressure and blackmail departed from the consensus reached by both sides during multiple negotiations and has also greatly disappointed worldwide society", it said.

"If the USA side becomes irrational and issues a list, China will have to adopt comprehensive measures combining quantity and quality to make a strong countermeasure", the ministry said. Three people close to Apple, who remained anonymous because they are not authorized to speak for the company, say that the tech giant's top worry is that the Chinese wreak havoc with Apple's supply chain by forcing suppliers to provide pointless paperwork in order to gum up the works.

Trump's latest salvo in a brewing trade war would mean a sizable amount of Chinese goods shipped to the US would be exposed to tariff threats and raises new questions about the impact on American consumers.

The US leader warned Friday of "additional tariffs" should Beijing hit back with tit-for-tat measures.

In a subsequent statement issued Monday, Robert Lighthizer, head of the USTR office, said his staff was preparing the proposed tariffs as instructed by the president.

Trump has taken direct aim at Beijing's industrial policies by targeting tariffs at goods the White House benefit from them.

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The yen jumped and U.S. equity futures dropped after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to slap tariffs on more Chinese goods.

"If we lose trade to China, our neighbors to the south will be glad to take up that trade", says John Heisdorffer, a soybean producer from Iowa and president of the American Soybean Association.

House Freedom Caucus founder Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told Bloomberg that he thinks "most Americans are willing to give this president some latitude to get the best kind of trade deal that benefits the United States", adding, "I have concerns about tariffs in general". "However, confronted by such short-sighted act that hurts both U.S. itself and others, China has no choice but to fight back forcefully". "The United States initiated a trade war and violated the laws of the market. These negative repercussions span a broad spectrum, extending from the risk of domestic political backlash, to the risk of decreased Chinese cooperation on North Korea, to the outside possibility that China will move to test US mettle with regional security alliances".

The trade war has heated up, with Washington promising further tariffs if China retaliates, which it duly has.

The United States and China have the world's biggest trading relationship but official ties are increasingly strained over complaints Beijing's technology development tactics hurt American companies.

China's list, which included about a billion dollars worth of USA seafood, was a retaliation to Trump's move earlier in the day to update a list of now 1,102 items worth $50bn on which a 25% tariff would be levied. "This is unacceptable", Trump said.

In turn, China says their new import taxes are in response to an earlier set of tariffs by the USA, also of $34 billion at a 25 percent rate.

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