Trump proposes raising Chinese tariffs

U.S.-China trade war back in focus

U.S.-China trade war back in focus

Robert Lighthizer said Mr Trump directed the increase because China refused to meet U.S. demands and has imposed retaliatory tariffs on USA goods. Furthermore, the massive, debt-financed tax cut enacted last December will only drive domestic consumption and make US assets more attractive to foreign buyers, all of which will widen the USA trade deficit much more than the limited tariffs imposed so far will shrink it.

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered his administration to consider more than doubling proposed tariffs on $200 billion (€172 billion) worth of Chinese goods from 10 to 25 percent.

They include food products, chemicals, steel and aluminum and consumer goods ranging from dog food, furniture and carpets to auto tires, bicycles, baseball gloves and beauty products.

In a statement, Lighthizer said the proposed higher tariff is meant to provide the administration with additional options to encourage Beijing to change its trade practices.

Investors fear an escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing could hit global growth, and prominent USA business groups have condemned Trump's aggressive tariffs.

So far, Washington has imposed tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods, and tariffs on another $16 billion will come at a later point. He is also betting that the USA could wield more leverage because Beijing cannot match the tariffs proposed on $200 billion in Chinese goods.

That reflected American frustration that Beijing retaliated by raising its own duties on US imports in response to tariff hikes on Chinese goods over complaints the communist government steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. "Any unilateral threat or blackmail is only going to escalate the conflict and hurt everybody's interests".

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Mr Trump's threats of higher tariffs weighed on China's financial markets.

That case concluded China was stealing American technology and tariffs were needed to offset the damage. We have been very clear about the specific changes China should undertake. A few days later, the Trump government imposed more tariffs on Chinese imports, spurring the government of Xi Jinping to implement similar countermeasures.

In a sign the trade standoff is reverberating through Chinese politics, the Politburo signalled on Tuesday that policymakers will focus more on supporting economic growth amid risks from a campaign to reduce debt and the dispute with Trump.

Trade tensions between the USA and China have been escalating for months, driven by President Trump's aggressive rhetoric and policy positions. "It remains unchanged. The blackmailing and pressure by the U.S. will never work on China if the U.S. take measures to further escalate the situation we will surely take countermeasures to firmly uphold our legitimate rights and interests".

In recent weeks, White House officials have claimed progress in talks with the European Union and Mexico, while talks with Canada and China have broken down. He also has threatened a further round of tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods.

Communications between officials of the two nations remain open, but still are just conversations about potential negotiations, senior Trump administration officials said.

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