(AFP) — US President Donald Trump escalated a growing trade war with China by unveiling plans today to impose 10 per cent tariffs on an additional US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
With the world’s two largest economies already engaged in a confrontation long feared by markets and industry, Trump said he was pushing forward with fresh punitive measures over Beijing’s “unacceptable” move to raise its own tariffs.
“Further action must be taken to encourage China to change its unfair practices, open its market to United States goods and accept a more balanced trade relationship with the United States,” Trump said in a statement.
The US leader warned that after the new measures are in place – on top of existing 25 per cent tariffs on US$50 billion in Chinese imports – tariffs on another US$200 billion of Chinese goods would go forward “if China increases its tariffs yet again.”
“The trade relationship between the United States and China must be much more equitable,” the president said in explaining his decision.
“I have an excellent relationship with President Xi (Jinping), and we will continue working together on many issues. But the United States will no longer be taken advantage of on trade by China and other countries in the world.”
Trump had already warned last week of “additional tariffs” should Beijing hit back with tit-for-tat duties on American goods.
Then China followed suit, unveiling 25 per cent duties on US$50 billion in US imports – matching the US rates.
Trump moved forward with measures after months of sometimes fraught shuttle diplomacy in which Chinese offers to purchase more American goods failed to assuage his grievances over the soaring trade imbalance and China’s aggressive industrial development policies.
And the China trade offensive is only one side of Trump’s multi-front battle with all major US economic partners.
“China apparently has no intention of changing its unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology,” Trump said in a statement.
“Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening United States companies, workers, and farmers who have done nothing wrong.”