Trump Threatened Tariffs After Hearing of Chinese Reversal, Sources Say

The move comes after US President Donald Trump ramped up pressure on China to finalise a trade deal during upcoming talks by threatening to more than double tariffs on US$200 billion of the Asian nation's sales to the world's largest economy

The editor of an influential, Chinese state-run newspaper said Vice Premier Liu He was unlikely to go.

A decision on whether to go ahead with the talks this week has not been made, the report said. He referred other questions to the Commerce Ministry, which did not respond to requests for comment.

A large delegation from Beijing is due in Washington this week for a final round of discussions but reports suggested the Chinese may cancel or postpone the visit. Hopes for an accord have contributed to the big run-up in stock prices in the USA and China so far this year.

Beijing and Washington have raised tariffs on billions of dollars of each others goods in their dispute over US complaints about Chinese technology ambitions.

That has disrupted trade in goods from soybeans to medical equipment.

The US announces it will impose tariffs of 25 per cent on US$50 billion (S$68.2 billion) of Chinese imports, particularly electronics, in the first round of tariffs specifically targeted at China.

China has retaliated with $110bn-worth of tariffs on United States goods, including agricultural produce such as soya beans, as well as cars, luggage, electronics, housewares and food.

In early trading, market benchmarks in France and Germany fell 2 percent. The future contract for the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.7% to 26,042.00, while that for the S&P 500 gave up 1.6% to 2,900.10. Trump has already twice delayed his deadline to impose the new Chinese tariffs that he threatened again yesterday. But on Sunday, Trump said a trade deal was coming together too slowly.

Talks between the US and China to resolve their year-long trade standoff appeared to be on life-support Monday, with Beijing struggling to respond to a pair of tweets by President Donald Trump that threaten an escalation of tariffs by the end of the week.

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Trump ups pressure on China ahead of last ditch trade talks
But on Sunday, Trump, who has called himself a 'tariff man, ' said he's losing patience. Trump also threatened to slap an additional 25 percent tariff on $325 billion of goods.

The president has accused Beijing of "unfair" trade policies, including allowing the theft of USA companies' intellectual property. For that reason, if he wants to convince the Chinese he's for real, he'll actually have to impose them for real. They say those violate the communist government's market-opening commitments.

While the two sides had been reporting progress in talks, the sticking points have been on intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers.

They have offered to change industrial strategies but have ruled out discarding them outright. It's possible talks are breaking down, with China offering insufficient concessions, and an increase in tariffs a genuine prospect.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index fell by around 3.2% or 1,000 points as fears continued that China would call off trade talks after Trump's announcement on Sunday.

Analysts said Trump's comments might be a negotiating tactic, but might also make Beijing reluctant to appear as if it was giving in to United States demands.

It was unclear whether the threat reflected deeper concerns by Trump, who stunned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by walking away from their nuclear summit in February, or a negotiating tactic.

Fears about a further escalation caused a slump in world stock markets towards the end of previous year.

"The risk of an all-out U.S".

"In the near term, investors are rightfully anxious since the lingering threat of a trade war weighed on risk assets in 2018, especially in Asia", Tai Hui, the chief market strategist for the Asia Pacific at JPMorgan Asset Management, said in a note.

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