Trade fight mounts as Trump threatens $100 billion more in China tariffs

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said he had instructed US trade officials to consider $100 billion in additional tariffs against China, upping the ante in an already high-stakes trade confrontation between the world’s two biggest economies.
The further tariffs were being considered “in light of China’s unfair retaliation” against earlier US trade actions, which included a proposed $50 billion of tariffs on Chinese goods, Trump said in a White House statement.
Financial markets, unsettled for days by the trade fight and Trump’s management of it, whipsawed again on the new threat. After a bullish regular trading day, US equity futures sold off sharply in after-market-hours trading.
S&P 500 e-mini futures traded down 1.3 per cent, with similar moves in Dow and Nasdaq futures. In the currency markets, the US dollar fell against the Japanese yen.
“The hastily crafted policy like we have seen from Trump over the last two, three days and now tonight… is dangerous,” said Doug Kass, who runs hedge fund Seabreeze Partners Management Inc. “Our president is going to make market volatility and economic uncertainty great again.”
In his statement, Trump said the US Trade Representative had determined that China “has repeatedly engaged in practices to unfairly obtain America’s intellectual property.” Earlier this week, the Trump administration proposed 25 per cent tariffs on 1,300 Chinese industrial and other products. China shot back with a list of similar proposed duties on American imports, including soybeans, planes, cars, beef and chemicals.
“Rather than remedy its misconduct, China has chosen to harm our farmers and manufacturers,” the Republican president said.
The tit-for-tat tariff announcements have stirred fears that the two countries will spiral into a trade war that will crush global growth. Republican lawmakers from Western and Midwestern states have voiced worries about a big hit to US farming exporters.
On the new tariff threat, Republican Senator Ben Sasse said in a statement: “Hopefully the president is just blowing off steam again but, if he’s even half-serious, this is nuts. — Reuters

China says will fight back ‘at any cost’

BEIJING/WASHINGTON: China warned on Friday it would fight back “at any cost” with fresh trade measures if the United States continues on its path of protectionism, hours after President Donald Trump threatened to slap an additional $100 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods.
Responding to Trump’s latest comments, the Chinese commerce ministry reiterated that China was not afraid of a trade war even though it did not seek one, and accused the United States of provoking the trade conflict.
“If the United States disregards the objections of China and the international community and persists in unilateralism and trade protectionism, the Chinese side will follow through to the end, at any cost, and definitely fight back resolutely,” a spokesperson was quoted as saying in a statement on the ministry’s website. — Reuters