Trump ready to ratchet up China trade war with more tariffs

Trump ready to ratchet up China trade war with more tariffs

Fri, 31/08/2018 - 12:21
Donald Trump

Donald Trump has again sent jitters through global markets with threats to ramp up the US-China trade dispute. Photo: Reuters

US President Donald Trump is prepared to quickly ramp up a trade war with China and has told aides he is ready to impose tariffs on $US200 billion more in Chinese imports as soon as a public comment period on the plan ends next week.

The White House declined comment on the report by international news agency Bloomberg, which cited six unidentified sources, and deflated markets. The S&P hit session lows, and the US dollar, Chinese yuan and US Treasury yields also fell.

President Trump has credited his electoral success to his hard line on trade, which he has argued hurts US workers and favors foreign competitors. Washington is demanding Beijing improve market access and intellectual property protections for US companies, cut industrial subsidies and slash a $375 billion trade gap.

The world's two largest economies have already applied tariffs to $US50 billion of each other's goods in a tit-for-tat trade war. Talks aimed at easing tensions ended last week without major breakthroughs.

The new proposed 25 per cent tariffs would affect consumer products including home building supplies, technology products, bicycles and apparel.

A public comment period on the proposal is set to end on September 6, and Mr Trump plans to impose the tariffs after that deadline, Bloomberg said.

Some sources said Mr Trump had not made his final decision, the Bloomberg report said. Trump administration officials have been divided over how hard to push Beijing.

Mr Trump, who has threatened to impose duties on virtually all of the more than $500 billion of Chinese goods exported to the United States each year, told Reuters in an interview earlier this month that resolving the trade war with China would "take time" and that he had "no time frame" for ending it.

The report on Mr Trump's China stance coincides with US negotiators pushing to hammer out a deal with Canadian counterparts to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement.