Trump threatens more tariffs against China

- ASSOCIATED PRESS, WASHINGTON
Wall Street has viewed the escalating trade tensions with wariness as they could strangle economic growth

Jun 20, 2018-President Donald Trump directed the US Trade Representative to prepare new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports on Monday as the two nations moved closer to a potential trade war.

The tariffs, which Trump wants set at a 10 percent rate, would be the latest round of punitive measures in an escalating dispute over the large trade imbalance between the two countries. Trump recently ordered tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods in retaliation for intellectual property theft. The tariffs were quickly matched by China on US exports, a move that drew the president’s ire.

“China apparently has no intention of changing its unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology,” Trump said in a statement Monday announcing the new action. “Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening United States companies, workers, and farmers who have done nothing wrong.”

Trump added: “These tariffs will go into effect if China refuses to change its practices, and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced.”

China’s Commerce Ministry on Tuesday criticized the latest threat of tariffs, saying it was an “act of extreme pressure and blackmail that deviates from the consensus reached by both parties after many negotiations, and is a disappointment to the international community.”

“If the US becomes irrational and issues this list, China will have no choice but to adopt strong countermeasures of the same amount and quality,” the ministry statement said.

Trump said that if China responds to this fresh round of tariffs, then he will move to counter “by pursuing additional tariffs on another $200 billion of goods.”

It wasn’t immediately clear when the new tariffs could be put in place, as the trade office has yet to identify the Chinese goods to be penalized or conduct a legal review. The first round of penalties announced by both nations is set to take effect July 6.

The intellectual property sanctions were the latest in a spate of protectionist measures unveiled by Trump in recent months that included tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to the US and a tough rhetoric on trade negotiations from North America to Asia.

The escalation in the dispute with China may also serve as a warning to other trading partners with whom Trump has been feuding, including Canada and the European Union.

The move quickly drew praise from former Trump senior adviser Steve Bannon, who told The Associated Press: “President Trump told China and the world tonight that America will not back down when it comes to economic aggression.”

But Wall Street has viewed the escalating trade tensions with wariness, fearful they could strangle the economic growth achieved during Trump’s watch.

Published: 20-06-2018 08:23

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