Trump threatens China with $100bn more in tariffs as response to Beijing’s ‘unfair retaliation’

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Donald Trump has instructed the US Trade Representative to consider slapping China with an additional $100 billion in tariffs, accusing China of engaging in “unfair retaliation” instead of backing down to Washington’s pressure.

“Rather than remedy its misconduct, China has chosen to harm our farmers and manufacturers. In light of China’s unfair retaliation, I have instructed the USTR to consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate under section 301 and, if so, to identify the products upon which to impose such tariffs,” Trump’s statement, released by the White House, said.

Earlier this week Beijing announced that it was considering a mirror response, after the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released a preliminary list of Chinese products, totalling some $50 billion, which it plans to slap with increased tariffs, under Trump’s order.

Despite Beijing’s repeated warnings that it would proportionally respond to any US moves, and its calls for negotiations to avoid an escalation of a trade war, Donald Trump on Thursday decided to adopt a harsher policy. While instructing the USTR to consider new measures, he once again cited Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, which had previously “determined that China has repeatedly engaged in practices to unfairly obtain America’s intellectual property.”

Somewhat downplaying this new round in the trade spat, which is likely to further impact global stock markets, Trump claimed that he was still ready to have discussions with China to achieve a “free, fair, and reciprocal trade and to protect the technology and intellectual property of American companies and American people.”

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