Trump threatens tariffs on all imports from China

Gladys Abbott
September 8, 2018

Trump has already imposed 25 per cent tariffs on $US50 billion worth of Chinese goods, mostly industrial machinery and intermediate electronics parts, including semiconductors.

But he told reporters travelling with him to Fargo, North Dakota that "behind that, there's another US$267 billion ready to go on short notice if I want". To a certain extent its going to be up to China, Trump said.

Those potential tariffs would come on top of tariffs Trump has said he's poised to slap on $200 billion worth of goods from China - everything from handbags to bicycle tires.

Bloomberg News reported Friday that administration officials are discussing using an executive order that authorizes USA officials to impose the sanctions on those taking part in "malicious cyber-enabled activities". Both countries have already slapped levies on $50 billion of each other's exports, and China promised on Thursday to respond to any USA escalation with "necessary countermeasures".

In Beijing, China's Commerce Ministry said Thursday it was ready to retaliate.

Guajardo said Thursday it would be "very strange" to sign a new NAFTA "when this trade war is pending".

A truck transports a container next to stacked containers at a port in Zhangjiagang in China's eastern Jiangsu province.

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Cell phones, the biggest US import from China, have so far been spared, but would be engulfed if Trump activates the $267 billion tariff list.

While Trump was waving his proverbial stick, Top White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow made a paltry attempt to offer something of a carrot on Friday, saying that the U.S. is up for talks and that there is "constant communication".

The U.S. Trade Representative's office received almost 6,000 comments and held seven days of public hearings on the proposed levies.

Most comments were from companies seeking to remove products from the tariff list, arguing there were few, if any alternative sources and the duties would cause financial hardship.

Trump is getting a last-minute earful from prominent technology companies and retailers as he considers whether to follow through with his plan to ratchet up tariffs on Chinese exports.

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. The administration has asserted that Trump's tariffs would force China to trade on more favorable terms with the United States. Among the equipment hit were a number of components and devices used by U.S. tech firms, including chips and networking gear produced in Chinese factories.

"Those have been our asks for many months and so far those asks have not been satisfied", he said.

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