Wall Street slides ahead of Trump tariff announcement


"Today, following seven weeks of public notice, hearings, and extensive opportunities for comment, I directed the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to proceed with placing additional tariffs on roughly $200 billion of imports from China", Trump said in a statement released late Monday.

"Collection of tariffs on the long-anticipated list will start September 24 but the rate will increase to 25 percent by the end of 2018, allowing USA companies some time to adjust their supply chains to alternate countries, a senior administration official said".

Trump also warned that if China takes retaliatory action against USA farmers and industries, the administration will pursue tariffs on about $267 billion of additional imports.

In a pair of early morning tweets, Trump hailed his combative trade policy as a boon to American economic health and said the United States steel industry, which the White House has championed in new protectionist measures, was now "the talk of the world". "If countries will not make fair deals with us, they will be 'Tariffed!'".

Victoria University professor Siah Hwee Ang, an expert in Asian trade, forecast China would retaliate to the latest USA tariffs within days.

The trade war between America and China has escalated, fuelling fears that the global economy could be dragged down.

Unlike the $50b in Chinese products that Trump hit in the first tariff wave in July, which fell mainly on industrial goods, Monday's action will affect consumer products such as air conditioners, spark plugs, furniture and lamps.

"If the USA launches any new tariff measures, China will have to take countermeasures to firmly ensure our legitimate rights and interests", foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters during a regular press briefing.

China is one of Apple's largest markets, and the tech giant said increasing tariffs on Chinese goods could harm its business. He didn't answer directly when asked whether Beijing would back out if U.S. President Donald Trump goes ahead with a proposed tariff hike on $200 billion of Chinese goods.

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Trump has threatened to target another US$267 billion in goods the USA imports from China.

USTR has removed about 300 product categories from tariff list and has cut some subsets of products, but total value still "approximately $200 billion". But it is unclear whether Beijing will agree to come to Washington with the new tariffs set to go into effect. China has retaliated in kind, hitting American soybeans, among other goods, in a shot at the president's supporters in the USA farm belt.

A Treasury spokesman did not immediately respond to a query on the status of the China talks invitation. Executives complained the tariffs would make their products more expensive, costing them sales. China has retaliated in kind.

China's 'counterattack strategy needs to restrict exports to the United States as well as (imports of) USA goods, ' Lou was paraphrased as saying.

Other commentators have suggested Beijing use its holdings of US government debt or target American companies in China.

"We seem to be good friends".

The U.S. economy appears strong enough to withstand damage from the tariff battle, he said. China's economy is slowing, with consumers holding back and infrastructure spending dropping sharply. The U.S. put out about 40 per cent of the world's steel after World War II, but the figures have steadily dropped in the years since.

And as the China tariffs are imposed, top officials of the European Union are meeting to discuss how they might overcome the financial sanctions the USA will impose against European companies if they maintain economic ties with Iran after November 4 following the unilateral abrogation of the Iran nuclear deal.

Turkey has in turn hiked tariffs on imports of several United States products such as rice, alcohol, leaf tobacco, cosmetics and cars.