Trump threatens China with new $100 billion tariff plan

President Donald Trump ratcheted up the trade war rhetoric with China on Thursday evening, saying he was considering ...

Posted: Apr 6, 2018 2:09 PM
Updated: Apr 6, 2018 2:09 PM

President Donald Trump ratcheted up the trade war rhetoric with China on Thursday evening, saying he was considering another wave of steep tariffs on the country's exports to the United States.

"In light of China's unfair retaliation, I have instructed the [United States Trade Representative] to consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate," the president said in a statement.

Earlier this week, the United States announced new tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, claiming that China is stealing US intellectual property. China responded within hours by announcing $50 billion worth of tariffs on US goods.

The moves follow US tariffs that were imposed earlier this year on Chinese steel and aluminum, which also prompted retaliatory measures from China.

Trump's announcement late Thursday that his administration could target another $100 billion of Chinese goods rattled markets and drew criticism from businesses and from within his own party.

Have questions about China, tariffs and a possible trade war? Ask them here

The Chinese government responded by reiterating that it doesn't want "to fight a trade war, but we are not afraid of fighting it."

"If the United States disregards the opposition of China and the international community, and insists on unilateralist and protectionist trade practices, the Chinese side will follow through to the end and will not hesitate to fight back at any cost," the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement Friday. "We will take new comprehensive measures to respond and resolutely defend the interests of the country and the people."

Dow futures fell after Trump's announcement on Thursday and were down nearly 200 points, or 0.8%, early Friday. That followed a day of stock market gains in the United States as investors appeared to warm to the idea that the barbs between Washington and Beijing were all talk.

Investors were reassured by Larry Kudlow, the director of the White House National Economic Council, who also characterized the tariffs as just proposals in remarks on Thursday. He told reporters there is "nothing around the corner" regarding any concrete tariff plans.

Related: How China gets what it wants from American companies

Asian stock markets showed little sign of alarm over Trump's latest announcement, with most indexes posting moderate gains or losses on Friday. Stocks in Hong Kong, where the market had been closed Thursday, gained more than 1%. Exchanges in mainland China were shut Friday for a public holiday.

Trump's latest tariff threat was met with criticism from members of his own Republican party. Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse called the move "the dumbest possible way to do this."

"Hopefully the President is just blowing off steam again but, if he's even half-serious, this is nuts," he said in a statement.

"China is guilty of many things, but the President has no actual plan to win right now. He's threatening to light American agriculture on fire," Sasse added.

US retailers also slammed Trump's announcement, accusing him of "playing a game of chicken with the nation's economy."

The National Retail Federation, an industry group, said in a statement that while it agreed on the need to address China's unfair trade practices, "these tit-for-tat trade actions could ... make it harder for Americans across the country to afford everyday products and basic necessities."

The US government on Tuesday threatened to levy import taxes on more than 1,300 Chinese products, including TVs, dishwashers and printers. In turn, China vowed to target key US exports, including soybeans.

Related: China takes aim at America's soybean farmers

"Rather than remedy its misconduct, China has chosen to harm our farmers and manufacturers," Trump said in his statement Thursday.

Trump said he instructed the US Trade Representative to "identify the products upon which to impose" the additional tariffs he suggested.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a statement late Thursday called Trump's request "appropriate."

"China has chosen to respond thus far with threats to impose unjustified tariffs on billions of dollars in US exports, including our agricultural products," Lighthizer said. "Such measures would undoubtedly cause further harm to American workers, farmers, and businesses. Under these circumstances, the president is right to ask for additional appropriate action to obtain the elimination of the unfair acts, policies, and practices identified in USTR's report."

Trump said he had also instructed the Secretary of Agriculture "to use his broad authority to implement a plan to protect our farmers and agricultural interests."

He also left the door open for further talks with the Chinese government.

"The United States is still prepared to have discussions in further support of our commitment to achieving free, fair, and reciprocal trade and to protect the technology and intellectual property of American companies and American people," he said.

Chinese officials this week also said they were eager to negotiate. But it's unclear whether the two sides will be able to reach a mutually acceptable deal.

"The US-China trade rhetoric fluctuates between escalation and negotiation," said Kerry Craig, global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management. He warned that talks "could be complex and various factors such as [intellectual property] and technology will linger beyond a single trade dispute."

-CNN's Serenitie Wang, Steven Jiang, Julia Horowitz and Paul R. La Monica contributed to this report.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 14372

Reported Deaths: 693
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds95924
Lauderdale71358
Madison69422
Scott63010
Neshoba58937
Jones56622
Forrest52338
DeSoto5036
Leake40012
Rankin3856
Holmes38524
Jackson30313
Copiah2904
Attala28415
Newton2564
Monroe25225
Leflore25130
Lincoln25024
Harrison2477
Lamar2315
Yazoo2274
Pearl River20631
Pike20311
Adams19015
Lowndes1899
Noxubee1736
Washington1667
Warren1597
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Wayne1540
Oktibbeha15411
Jasper1524
Smith14511
Covington1431
Clarke13818
Kemper13611
Chickasaw13012
Lafayette1274
Lee1245
Carroll11511
Coahoma1144
Marion1149
Clay1084
Winston1051
Lawrence1021
Simpson950
Hancock8711
Wilkinson859
Yalobusha855
Grenada853
Itawamba847
Montgomery811
Union805
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Jefferson Davis772
Marshall773
Tate741
Tippah7111
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Panola643
Calhoun634
Webster611
Humphreys587
Amite561
Tunica533
Walthall520
Perry503
Prentiss423
Jefferson400
Choctaw342
Stone300
Pontotoc293
Tishomingo280
Franklin282
Tallahatchie261
Quitman250
George211
Benton150
Alcorn141
Greene91
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 16530

Reported Deaths: 591
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2124112
Jefferson1712100
Montgomery154134
Tuscaloosa67813
Marshall6689
Lee53332
Franklin5147
Shelby48419
Tallapoosa41864
Butler39213
Chambers34924
Madison3184
Elmore3137
Walker2991
Baldwin2819
Etowah24411
Dallas2443
DeKalb2413
Morgan2311
Coffee2241
Lowndes22210
Sumter2136
Autauga2053
Houston1884
Bullock1833
Pike1790
Colbert1612
Russell1590
Marengo1556
Lauderdale1532
Calhoun1523
Hale1517
Choctaw1488
Wilcox1347
Barbour1321
Clarke1292
Randolph1257
Marion11911
St. Clair1161
Pickens1014
Talladega1003
Dale990
Chilton971
Cullman960
Greene924
Limestone870
Winston820
Covington771
Jackson752
Crenshaw722
Bibb711
Henry712
Macon712
Washington666
Blount581
Escambia493
Lawrence460
Geneva400
Conecuh351
Coosa351
Monroe352
Perry350
Cherokee342
Clay272
Lamar210
Fayette130
Cleburne131
Unassigned00
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