U.S Donald Trump has intensified his trade war with China by imposing new import tariffs of $200bn on Chinese goods arriving in the US from next week.
The US president announced the tariffs in a statement, saying: “If China takes retaliatory action against our farmers or other industries, we will immediately pursue phase three, which is tariffs on approximately $267bon of additional imports.”
The US president blamed “unfair policies and practices” for the escalation.
“For months, we have urged China to change these unfair practices, and give fair and reciprocal treatment to American companies. We have been very clear about the type of changes that need to be made, and we have given China every opportunity to treat us more fairly. But, so far, China has been unwilling to change its practices.”
Earlier in the day he used a post on Twitter to warn foreign countries they would face higher import tariffs should they fail to agree “fair” trade agreements with the US, in a move seen as a thinly veiled threat to China.
He tweeted: “Tariffs have put the US in a very strong bargaining position, with Billions of Dollars, and Jobs, flowing into our Country – and yet cost increases have thus far been almost unnoticeable. If countries will not make fair deals with us, they will be ‘Tariffed!’”
Tariffs have put the U.S. in a very strong bargaining position, with Billions of Dollars, and Jobs, flowing into our Country – and yet cost increases have thus far been almost unnoticeable. If countries will not make fair deals with us, they will be “Tariffed!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 17, 2018
Economists argue border tariffs are typically counterproductive because the higher costs are passed on to consumers.
Trump believes the measures are having a positive impact on the US economy, adding in a separate Twitter post: “Our Steel Industry is the talk of the World. It has been given new life and is thriving. Billions of Dollars are being spent on new plants all around the country!”
Trump slapped a 25% tariff on foreign steel imports this year, with exemptions for some nations.
The president has used the threat of higher border taxes to force countries to renegotiate their trading arrangements with the US, although economists fear the impact could lower both American and global economic growth while also unsettling business investment.
the US and China have already imposed additional tariffs on $50bn worth of each other’s goods in the intensifying trade standoff, which has rumbled on for months as Trump pledges to help create more manufacturing jobs.
He has criticised China for “unfair” trading practices including the theft of US companies’ intellectual property.
Analysts say the president seems keen on the next round of tariffs and the Chinese are rumoured to be baulking at the next round of talks.
Brad Bechtel of the investment bank Jefferies said: “I still think he goes ‘all the way’ [with tariffs on China]. He has bipartisan support and the midterms are looming on the horizon, so he will keep pushing.”
Financial markets have been rattled in recent weeks as the trade conflict intensifies.
The US treasury department invited senior Chinese officials to more talks designed to break the deadlock last week, although scepticism remains on both sides over the prospects of a breakthrough. China has warned that the escalation of the trade conflict is not in the interest of either country.