Trump escalates China trade war with extra tariffs

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In a forceful statement, it said Beijing was ready to "defend the interests of the Chinese people and enterprises".

China swiftly rebuked the threat and said it would take strong countermeasures to safeguard itself if new tariffs are indeed announced.

It gave no details.

TRADE TENSIONS: Trump directed the U.S. Trade Representative to prepare new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports, stepping up a dispute companies and investors worry could drag down global trade and economic growth.

"American businesses now are on a level-playing field with your competitors from other countries who have so many advantages, including subsidy by governments", he said.

The news hit stock markets in Asia, where Shanghai shed three percent in the morning, Hong Kong lost more than two percent and Tokyo was one percent lower.

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The potential tariffs released on Monday are in retalitation to that statement from China.

The United States has now imposed tariffs on up to $450bn in Chinese goods, out of a total of $500bn.

Benchmark U.S. crude was down $1 to $64.85 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Although Mr. Trump's audience applauded his comments on tariffs at the annual National Federation of Independent Business conference, the renewed trade hostilities between Washington and Beijing are spooking many sectors of the US economy, from Wall Street to the agricultural heartland. That would leave about $120 billion of imports available for retaliatory tariffs after Saturday's announcement.

China's foreign ministry also warned the US was initiating a trade war. China, meanwhile, has responded to the White House with reciprocal measures aimed at us industries that affect Republican-voting states, Trump's primary base of support. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.4 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index slumped by 1.1 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

Companies like Apple are anxious China could cause delays in supply chains and increase scrutiny of products under the guise of national security concerns, The New York Times reported.

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"You see what's happening with China".

Trump has taken direct aim at Beijing's industrial policies by targeting tariffs at goods the White House benefit from them.

Combined, the potential tariffs on Beijing could reach $450 billion - an amount equal to 89 percent of Chinese goods imported to the US a year ago.

The tariffs, which Trump wants set at a 10 percent rate, would be the latest round of punitive measures in an escalating dispute over the large trade imbalance between the two countries.

Trump's former economic adviser, Gary Cohn, has warned that a continuing trade dispute could result in higher inflation and personal debt.

"Beijing will not panic in response to Trump's latest threat, but will be deeply concerned", said Eurasia Group in a report.

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