New US tariffs in ‘trade war‘ with China

United States President Donald Trump has directed trade officials to identify tariffs on $100 billion more Chinese imports, upping the ante in an already high-stakes trade confrontation between the world‘s two largest economies.

Donald Trump Photo: AFP

The further tariffs were being considered “in light of China‘s unfair retaliation” against earlier US trade actions, which included a proposed $50 billion of tariffs on Chinese goods, Mr Trump said in a White House statement.

National Retail Federation President and chief executive Matthew Shay said Mr Trump should “stop playing a game of chicken with the US economy”.

“This is what a trade war looks like, and what we have warned against from the start,” he said.

Republican Senator Ben Sasse said: “Hopefully the president is just blowing off steam again but, if he‘s even half-serious, this is nuts.”

Financial markets have been unsteady for days due to the trade fight and Mr Trump‘s management of it. US stock futures ESc1 fell 1 percent and the dollar dipped against other major currencies. Asian shares flitted in and out of positive territory. Chinese markets were closed for a holiday.

Doug Kass, who runs hedge fund Seabreeze Partners Management Inc said: “Our president is going to make market volatility and economic uncertainty great again.”

In a statement, Mr Trump said the US trade representative had determined that China “has repeatedly engaged in practices to unfairly obtain America‘s intellectual property.”

The tit-for-tat escalation of tariff announcements unfolded surprisingly rapidly. They have stirred fears that the two countries will spiral into a trade war that will crush global growth.

Chinese state media slammed Mr Trump‘s threat of more trade action against China as “ridiculous”.

On Tuesday, USTR proposed 25 percent tariffs on more than 1300 Chinese industrial and other products from flat-panel televisions to electronic components. China shot back 11 hours later with a list of proposed duties on $50 billion of American imports, including soybeans, aircraft, cars, beef and chemicals.

– Reuters