Trump says ready to up China tariff list to US$517 billion

Daniel Fowler
September 8, 2018

An announcement on the tariffs is expected as early as Friday.

Over the first eight months of the year, China's surplus with its largest export market has risen almost 15 percent, adding to tensions in the trade relationship between the world's two largest economies.

The figures were well below July's performance, when exports had jumped 12.2 per cent and imports grew 27 per cent.

"The $200bn we are talking about could take place very soon depending on what happens with them".

The US has already imposed tariffs on $50bn in Chinese products, and Beijing has punched back with tariffs on $50bn in American goods. But Beijing will struggle to keep responding in kind as it imports less than United States dollars 200 billion in U.S. goods per year.

The Trump administration has offered aid to farmers impacted by the retaliatory trade moves, which include tariffs on USA crops like soy beans.

Washington has long criticised China's huge trade surplus with the United States and has demanded Beijing reduce it. "In the meantime, we're taking in billions of dollars of taxes coming in from China, with the potential of billions and billions of dollars more taxes coming in".

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And Mr. Trump said he's winning the escalating battle over trade policy between the US and China, but said he has more trade sanctions in the works. "And I hate to say this, but behind that is another US$267 billion ready to go on short notice if I want". "That totally changes the equation".

That would cover virtually all the goods imported from the world's second largest economy.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow just hours before said talks with Beijing were continuing to try to defuse the conflict, and that he was hopeful that a solution could be found.

"We will evaluate the comments and we will make a decision", Kudlow said, suggesting it could be some time before the fresh import charges will be levied.

The last effort at a negotiated solution came in late August with meetings between low-level officials, but nothing came of it.

"China will have to take necessary countermeasures if the U.S. side ignores the opposition of the overwhelming majority of its enterprises and adopts new tariff measures", Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said Thursday. Both countries have already slapped levies on $50 billion of each other's exports, and China promised on Thursday to respond to any U.S. escalation with "necessary countermeasures".

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