'Reckless': Trump escalates trade war with another $US200b in Chinese tariffs

Posted July 11, 2018

The Trump administration is preparing to impose tariffs on US$200-billion more in Chinese goods, a move that would intensify the bruising trade war between the world's two largest economies.

China last week accused President TrumpDonald John TrumpMcConnell to meet with Trump's Supreme Court pick Tuesday Kavanaugh offers lengthy judicial record ahead of bitter confirmation fight Hundreds protest Kavanaugh's nomination outside Supreme Court MORE of starting "the biggest trade war in economic history" with his administration's original round of tariffs. "We can not turn a blind eye to China's mercantilist trade practices, but this action falls short of a strategy that will give the administration negotiating leverage with China while maintaining the long-term health and prosperity of the American economy".

The U.S. imposed an initial round of 25% tariffs, applying to $34 billion in imports, as part of a $50 billion tariff plan.

The United States complains that China uses predatory practices in a push to challenge American technological dominance. "There is no justification for such action", he said in a statement.

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The administration released a wide-ranging list of Chinese goods it proposes be hit with tariffs, including hundreds of food products as well as tobacco, coal, chemicals and tires, dog and cat food, and consumer electronics including television components. However, because China exports more to the USA than it imports there are limits on the amount of tariffs Beijing can impose on American goods.

"These practices are an existential threat to America's most critical comparative advantage and the future of our economy", said Robert Lighthizer, the president's chief trade negotiator. But China only bought about $135 billion in USA goods a year ago, meaning it will run out of American products to tax before it matches Trump's latest move.

Tariff hikes are "hitting immediately the bottom line" of companies that rely on the free flow of trade across countries, said Mats Harborn, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China.

The tariffs could take effect after public consultations end on August 30, according to a statement from the U.S. Trade Representative's office Tuesday. And China's retaliation was targeted at soy farmers and others in the U.S. Republican heartland.

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"I'm not sure that Trump feels pressure". "Reliance on more and more taxes as a means to drive change is a high-risk strategy with US importers and exporters at the heart".

The official said the decision was not final and that the list of Chinese goods would not become final until after the public had a chance to comment.

The Washington Post's Danielle Paquette reported from Beijing.

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