Friday, 20 April, 2018

Trump proposes US$100 billion more in new tariffs on China

Relations have deteriorated since President Trump met Xi Jinping last November in Beijing Relations have deteriorated since President Trump met Xi Jinping last November in Beijing Qilai Shen Getty Images
June Sullivan | 07 April, 2018, 14:45

"In light of China's unfair retaliation, I have instructed the USTR (United States Trade Representative) to consider whether $100bn of additional tariffs would be appropriate under section 301 and, if so, to identify the products upon which to impose such tariffs", Mr Trump said.

China's Ministry of Commerce responded, saying Beijing would "not hesitate to pay any price" to defend its interests.

The ministry has called for a media briefing on Friday night, in an unusual move on a public holiday.

The US and China have played down the prospect of a diplomatic breakthrough to resolve their brewing trade dispute as President Donald Trump said investors may face short-lived "pain".

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC that the US and China are "not actually not in a trade war" but may be in the beginning of one.

Meanwhile, the nationalist Global Times said in an editorial published late on Thursday that the "Chinese are aware that the only option now is to hit the U.S. hard enough so that it will remember the pain". "None of this supports growth and employment".

The United States is willing to negotiate with China on trade, but only if talks are serious, as previous attempts produced little progress, a senior US official told Reuters late on Thursday as trade tensions between the two nations escalated.

Kudlow told reporters the USA may provide a list of suggestions to China "as to what we would like to have come out of this", and those issues were under discussion. "No tariffs will go into effect until the respective process is complete", Lighthizer said. But he added, "We're going to have a much stronger country when we're finished".

The Trump administration unveiled earlier this week a list of $50 billion worth of Chinese products that could be hit with stiff tariffs.

Another typical Democratic view was expressed by Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who called Trump's plan for added tariffs a "reckless gamble". He gave no indication what measures Beijing might take.

"We do not want to fight, but we are not afraid to fight a trade war". He said the United States stock market has gone up significantly, adding: "so we might lose a little bit of it".

China is coming out against the Taiwan Travel Act, which was just signed by President Trump last month. "That goes for other countries and it goes for other places", he said. "Our president is going to make market volatility and economic uncertainty great again". "We have to have some balance".

Trump's US Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, acknowledged in an interview with business news television channel CNBC that the friction between the world's two largest economies has the "potential of a trade war". "It's hard to tell the difference between a rhetorical flourish from a president known for bombastic remarks and a meaningful shift in policy". And there's talk that the USA could also put limits on visas for Chinese who want to visit or study in this country. South Korea on Friday threatened tariffs on imports from the U.S.in retaliation for imposing safeguard duties on washing machines and solar panels. He warned that talks "could be complex and various factors such as [intellectual property] and technology will linger beyond a single trade dispute".

"China over the years has taken advantage of the attitude in America, which is we haven't watched very closely and they've been cheating", Romney said.

Trump's latest proposal intensified what was already shaping up to be the biggest trade battle for more than a half century.

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