Trump threatens tariffs on all US$505 billion of Chinese imports

Darnell Taylor
July 20, 2018

President Donald Trump said he was ready to impose tariffs on all $500 billion of goods the US imports from China, remarks that sent financial markets retreating and threatened to escalate a trade clash with the Asian giant.

Trump said in an interview with CNBC that the "down a tremendous amount" in terms of trade with China saying that China "can't match us because otherwise we're always going to be behind the 8-ball". Earlier this month, the United States imposed tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports and China promptly levied taxes on the same value of US products.

The yuan dipped to a 12-month low of 6.8 to the dollar, off by 7.6 percent since mid-February. China retaliated on the first wave of tariffs by slapping duties on the same dollar amount of US imports, and Beijing has said it'll fight against any further USA actions. Beijing vowed "firm and forceful measures" in response.

In the CNBC interview, the president also broke with a long-established tradition at the White House and voiced displeasure about recent actions at the US Federal Reserve.

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"I'm doing this to do the right thing for our country". China accused American officials of making false accusations Thursday as it fired back against a claim President Xi Jinping is blocking talks with the U.S. Earlier, White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow said Xi has no intention of making a deal over trade with the Trump administration. Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng last week called those accusations "groundless" and said that the US trade penalties contravene rules at the World Trade Organization. A weaker USA dollar leads to higher exports. Earlier this year, he used national security as a justification for taxing imported steel and aluminum.

Last year, the dollar amount of United States exports from China totaled $505.5 billion, according to Census Bureau data.

Last month, the Fed raised its benchmark rate for a second time this year and projected two more increases in 2018. Its rate hikes are meant to prevent the economy from overheating and igniting high inflation.

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