Trump escalates China trade spat with extra tariffs threat

Timeline of trade tensions between the US and its partners from metal tariffs to duties on Chinese imports

President Donald Trump threatened late Monday in the United States to impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods if Beijing goes through with its promise to retaliate against the U.S. tariffs announced on Friday.

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".

Later on Friday, China announced its own tariffs on American goods, including a wide range of seafood and agricultural products, many cars and trucks, petrochemicals and an array of medical equipment.

The president's action doubled his April threat to respond to any Chinese retaliation for his trade action with $100 billion in additional tariffs.

Last week, Trump announced 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports, prompting Beijing to follow suit with matching duties on American imported goods.

The ministry said in a statement on its website that China would take comprehensive measures to "fight back firmly".

"The trade relationship between the United States and China must be much more equitable".

China had offered to ramp up purchases of American goods by $70 billion to help cut its yawning trade surplus with the United States, whereas Trump had demanded a $200 billion deficit cut.

"Coal miners count among Trump's most vocal backers, but if China does stop buying USA coking coal, it may force producers to accept lower prices from other buyers in order to move cargoes", said Russell.

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These include major American exports to China such as soybeans, which brought in $14 billion in sales previous year, and are grown in states that supported Trump during the 2016 presidential election.

The US president released a statement on Monday night saying "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 apparently has no intention of changing its unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology.

And the China trade offensive is only one side of Trump's multi-front battle with all major United States economic partners.

It follows last Friday's decision to to impose 25% tariffs on $50bn of Chinese products.

Earlier on Monday, stock markets fell amid fears of further deterioration of US-China trade relations.

The US wants China to stop practices that allegedly encourage transfer of intellectual property - design and product ideas - to Chinese companies, such as requirements that foreign firms share ownership with local partners to access the Chinese market.

"Chinese leaders over these past few weeks have been claiming openness and globalization, but it's a joke".

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