Trump escalates China trade spat with extra tariffs threat

Trump escalates China trade spat with extra tariffs threat

US President Donald Trump threatened on Monday to impose a 10% tariff on US$200 billion (RM799 billion) of Chinese goods, saying the move was in retaliation for China's decision to raise tariffs on US$50 billion (RM199 billion) in US goods.

Trump said if China increases its tariffs again in response to the latest USA move, "we will meet that action by pursuing additional tariffs on another $200 billion of goods". He said the move was in retaliation for China's decision to raise tariffs on $50 billion in US goods.

He said the action by Beijing "clearly indicates its determination to keep the United States at a permanent and unfair disadvantage, which is reflected in our massive $376 billion trade imbalance in goods".

He added he would identify an extra $200 billion of goods - for a possible total of $450 billion, or most Chinese imports - "if China increases its tariffs yet again".

In a statement, Mr. Trump says he has an "excellent relationship" with Xi, "but the United States will no longer be taken advantage of on trade by China and other countries in the world".

That has prompted Mr Trump to up the ante once more in what he regards as an unfair balance in trade between the two superpowers.

Two decades ago, China's economy was largely fueled by exports, but it has made progress in rebalancing towards domestic investment and consumption since the global financial crisis erupted last decade - limiting the damage trade tariffs could inflict on Beijing.

The new United States tariff will be imposed if China goes ahead and implements its new tariff on American goods, announced last week, the White House said, adding that trade between the two countries "must be much more equitable". "Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening United States companies, workers, and farmers who have done nothing wrong", he said.

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The US announced plans for tariffs this spring, after an investigation into China's intellectual property practices.

Mr. Trump's comments came hours after the top USA diplomat accused China of engaging in "predatory economics 101" and an "unprecedented level of larceny" of intellectual property.

Beijing immediately retaliated, matching the USA levy.

In a separate issue Monday evening, Senate Republicans pushed back against the Trump administration's lifting of sanctions on Chinese telecom firm ZTE, reinstating the penalties as part a defense bill.

Trump said last week he was pushing ahead with tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports, prompting a quick response from Beijing, which said it would put duties on several American commodities.

"It's not hard to imagine a scenario in which China encourages Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation, the world's top oil exporters and partners in the agreement to restrict output, to pump more crude", said Russell yesterday.

He said China's recent claims of "openness and globalization" are "a joke".

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