Donald Trump has intensified his trade war with China by imposing new import tariffs of $200bn on Chinese goods arriving in the US from next week.
The US president announced the tariffs in a statement, saying: “If China takes retaliatory action against our farmers or other industries, we will immediately pursue phase three, which is tariffs on approximately $267bn of additional imports.”
Unlike previous tariffs which were aimed at businesses the latest round will directly hit thousands of consumer goods from luggage and electronics to housewares and foods, increasing costs.
“For months, we have urged China to change these unfair practices, and give fair and reciprocal treatment to American companies. We have been very clear about the type of changes that need to be made, and we have given China every opportunity to treat us more fairly. But, so far, China has been unwilling to change its practices.”
Asian shares fell and copper prices eased after the announcement. US stock futures also took a knock, with E-Minis for S&P 500 and the Dow Minis both down 0.2%.
China’s vice premier Liu He responded by convening a meeting in Beijing to discuss the extra tariffs, according to Bloomberg.
Fang Xinghai, a senior Chinese securities market official, said the US tariffs would not work as China has ample fiscal and monetary policy tools to cope with the impact.
The South China Morning Post reported that China would probably not send a trade delegation to Washington for fresh talks, citing an unidentified government source in Beijing. The report said China was reviewing its previous plans to send a delegation headed by Liu to the US next week. The source told the paper that Beijing has not yet made a final decision but that a show of “sufficient goodwill” was a precondition for the planned talks.
Earlier in the day, Trump used a post on Twitter to warn foreign countries they would face higher import tariffs should they fail to agree “fair” trade agreements with the US, in a move seen as a thinly veiled threat to China.
He tweeted: “Tariffs have put the US in a very strong bargaining position, with Billions of Dollars, and Jobs, flowing into our Country – and yet cost increases have thus far been almost unnoticeable. If countries will not make fair deals with us, they will be ‘Tariffed!’”>