US Ratchets up China Trade War, Threatens New Tariffs

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He cited China's retaliation to new tariffs already imposed by the USA on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods. He had earlier said the new round would target $100 billion of Chinese imports at the same rate as the first, 25%, which he scaled down to 10%, perhaps to protect consumers.

Asked what Beijing would do, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying gave no details but said, "We will take firm and forceful measures".

S&P 500 and Dow futures dropped around 1 percent, pointing to a weak opening on Wall Street later on Wednesday.

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Concerns about an escalating U.S. But President Donald Trump's measures targeting Chinese medical, construction and factory equipment hit exporters that say price-conscious American customers have stopped buying.

Last Friday, the US imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese products, and Beijing responded by hitting the same amount of USA imports.

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Lighthizer reiterated that the tariffs "will eventually cover up to US$50 billion in Chinese imports as legal processes conclude". Before now, the administration had deliberately avoided imposing tariffs on consumer goods in order to spare USA shoppers from direct economic pain.

That intensification of the trade conflict, which commentators are increasingly calling a full-scale trade war, has investors spooked about the future of the global world order and the global economy, pushing stock markets around the world deep into the red.

The dollar rose sharply against the Japanese currency, increasing to 112.04 yen from 111.28 yen.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 1.2 percent to 21,932.21 and South Korea's Kospi lost 0.6 percent to finish at 2,280.62. In a statement, it called the US actions "completely unacceptable".

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has supported Trump's domestic tax cuts and efforts to reduce regulation of businesses, but does not back Trump's aggressive tariff policies.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said the announcement "appears reckless and is not a targeted approach".

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Regulators can deny or cancel licenses or tie up companies by launching tax, environmental or anti-monopoly investigations.

"The outburst of large-scale mutual levying of tariffs between China and the United States will inevitably destroy Sino-US trade", he told the forum.

The impact of tariffs imposed Friday on the world's second-largest economy should be limited, according to private sector analysts. That prompted fears Beijing, running out of imports for retaliation due to its lopsided trade balance with the US, might try to disrupt operations of American automakers, retailers and others that see China as a key market.

The trade war between the world's top two economies landed at the World Trade Organization on Wednesday, as the United States demanded a "reckoning" over China's membership in the body.

The survey showed that while US companies continue to face challenges in China, 34 percent of respondents felt Chinese government policies toward foreign companies had improved, up from 28 percent previous year.

On Monday, Chinese and German companies including BASF and Volkswagen signed business deals worth 20 billion euros ($23.6 billion) during a visit to Berlin by China's No. 2 leader, Premier Li Keqiang.

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