What you need to know about Trump's new trade threat

Chinese and U.S. flags are set up for a signing ceremony during a visit by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao at China's Ministry of Transport in Beijing

Trump threatens to impose more trade tariffs on China

When Trump announced plans on Friday to impose 25 per cent tariffs on US$50 billion worth of Chinese imports, Beijing responded by publishing a list of U.S. products - ranging from soybeans to cars - that it would subject to retaliatory measures of the "same scale and intensity".

President Trump is back on his warhorse called Tariffs, yesterday announcing he was considering the introduction of a 10-percent levy on Chinese goods worth US$200 billion.

Two decades ago, China's economy was largely fuelled by exports, but it has made progress in rebalancing towards domestic investment and consumption since the global financial crisis erupted last decade - limiting the damage trade tariffs could inflict on Beijing.

Its study says that uncertainty acts like a non-tariff barrier to impede trade and investment by encouraging American companies to move factories back to the U.S. and reduce incentives for USA firms to invest overseas.

The Commerce Ministry criticized Trump's order to prepare tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods as blackmail.

There is no end in sight to the trade fight, as both sides continue to up the ante.

It published a draft list of about 1,300 Chinese products slated for tariffs in April.

China, which has been retaliating with its own tariff threats, warned that the only loser in the trade fight will be the US economy. Those tariffs were matched by China's threat to penalize on USA exports, a move that drew the president's ire. That's 90 percent of everything China exports to the USA, from electronics, clothing, toys, tools, you name it.

Since June 1, steel and aluminium imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico have been hit with tariffs of 25 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively.

"Risking a trade war with more tariffs will only invite more retaliation that will cause significant harm to the US economy", said the group, urging the administration instead to "work with our allies and place coordinated pressure on China to end their harmful trade and investment practices".

The United States has initiated a trade war and violated market regulations, and is harming the interests of not just the people of China and the US, but of the world.

Despite the promise by the U.S.to leave assembled iPhone units alone, Apple is concerned that the Chinese could retaliate against the US company.

"Let us not understate the macroeconomic impact [of the trade spat]", International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde warned last week.

"This latest action by China clearly indicates its determination to keep the United States at a permanent and unfair disadvantage, which is reflected in our massive $376 billion trade imbalance in goods".

Cook downplayed concerns about U.S.

The U.S. imported $505 billion of goods from China past year and exported about $130 billion, leaving a 2017 trade deficit of $376 billion, according to U.S. government figures.

As economist Dean Baker explains at the Center for Economic and Policy Research website, China has the tools to deliver massive blows to some of America's biggest businesses despite the fact that it has a sizable trade surplus with the United States.

In response, Chinese officials vowed to retaliate with their own $50 billion of tariffs on American goods, such as beef, cars, and soybeans. The two sides have been involved in negotiations with China offering to buy $70 billion dollars in US goods.

"These tariffs are essential to preventing further unfair transfers of American technology and intellectual property to China, which will protect American jobs", the president said at the time.

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