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Trump sparks trade war after China tariff hike

DONALD TRUMP has said trade talks between China and the United States are continuing in a ‘very congenial manner’ despite new tariffs the US imposed on $200billion (£155billion) of Chinese imports.

Mr Trump tweeted that the increased tariffs would bring ‘far more wealth’ to the US, although a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Columbia and Princeton universities said the burden of tariffs fell on US consumers and businesses that bought imports.

Some politicians have recently expressed concern about the effect of the tariffs on farmers.

Mr Trump suggested on Twitter that money from the additional tariffs would allow the US to buy more agricultural goods from US farmers and ship it to ‘poor and starving’ countries.

Beijing has vowed to retaliate after the latest tariff hike on Chinese goods came into effect — escalating a battle over China’s technology ambitions and other trade strains.

The Trump administration raised duties on some Chinese imports from 10 per cent to 25 per cent.

China’s commerce ministry said it would take ‘necessary countermeasures’ but gave no details.

The increase went ahead after American and Chinese negotiators began more talks in Washington aimed at ending a dispute that has disrupted billions of dollars in trade and shaken global financial markets.

American officials accuse Beijing of backtracking on commitments made in earlier rounds of negotiations.

‘China deeply regrets that it will have to take necessary countermeasures,’ said a commerce ministry statement.

China vice premier Liu He (left) is greeted by US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin (right) for trade talks in Washington

The latest increase extends 25 per cent US duties to a total of $250billion (£192billion) of Chinese imports.

President Trump said on Sunday he might extend penalties to all Chinese goods shipped to the United States.

Beijing retaliated for previous tariff hikes by raising duties on $110billion (£85billion) of American imports.

But regulators are running out of US goods for penalties due to the lopsided trade balance.

Chinese officials have targeted operations of American companies in China by slowing customs clearance for their goods and stepping up regulatory scrutiny that can hamper operations.

Arriving in Washington for trade talks yesterday, Chinese vice premier Liu He urged the US government to avoid more tariff hikes, saying they were ‘not a solution’ and would harm the world.