Trump warns further China tariffs 'ready to go'

Cisco Systems Inc. Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. and other technology companies sent a letter to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthiser urging the administration to avoid imposing more tariffs

President Donald Trump threatened Friday to slap tariffs on all of the Chinese goods imported into the United States, ramping up the already tense trade relations with Beijing. China has threatened retaliation, which could include action against US companies operating there.

China will be forced to take necessary countermeasures if the United States insists on imposing new tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods despite strong opposition from both countries, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.

"The $200bn we are talking about could take place very soon depending on what happens with them". And I hate to say that, but behind that, there's another $267bn ready to go on short notice if I want. "That totally changes the equation". But if Trump adds the $200 billion in Chinese products to the target list, American consumers would likely feel the pinch directly.

There's no final decision on that round of tariffs as the U.S. Trade Representative's office continues to "run their process", White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said on Friday.

For the Trump administration, Friday began with sunny signs for the labor market before Trump's hawkish trade-war rhetoric clouded the outlook.

Apple, in the letter it sent to the USTR, did not give an estimate as to the amount the tariffs would increase costs. The Trump administration levied tariffs as a form of retaliation to what it says are unfair Chinese trading practices and the theft of intellectual property.

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In its filing, Apple challenged that approach, writing that "it is hard to see how tariffs that hurt USA companies and US consumers will advance the Government's objectives with respect to China's technology policies".

Given the smaller amount of goods China imports from the United States on which it could slap duties, Beijing has vowed to hit back with unspecified "qualitative" and "quantitative" measures, actions perceived within the US business community as likely to be increased customs and regulatory scrutiny. But, as the Guardian noted, Trump's tariffs are not working.

China's trade surplus with the United States ballooned to a new record $31 billion in August despite a raft of U.S. tariffs, official data showed Saturday, adding fuel to the flames of a searing trade war.

"If USTR [Lighthizer] were to impose a 10-25 per cent additional duty on networking products and accessories", the corps wrote, "it would cause broad, disproportionate economic harm to US interests, including our companies and US workers, our customers, US consumers, and broader US economic and strategic priorities". That would mean penalties cover nearly all goods from China sold to the United States.

Chen Wenling, chief economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said China still needs to make long-term preparations for the Sino-US trade spat, which may require many years to resolve.

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