U.S. may slap China with higher tariffs, Beijing vows to retaliate


"The Trump Administration continues to urge China to stop its unfair practices, open its market and engage in true market competition", said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a statement.

The Trump administration is proposing raising planned taxes on $200 billion in Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent, potentially ratcheting up a trade war with China.

The initial set of tariffs and reprisals led to talks between Washington and Beijing, and Trump and his administration touted a deal that they said would lead to hundreds of billions of dollars worth of additional US exports to China.

There are also reports that representatives of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He are having private conversations as they too look to reengage in negotiations.

The move to more than double the proposed tariff may inflame already heightened tensions between the world's two largest economies.

China's commerce ministry said the USA tactics would have no effect on China, and would disappoint countries that are against trade wars.

"It remains unchanged. The blackmailing and pressure by the United States will never work on China if the U.S. take measures to further escalate the situation we will surely take countermeasures to firmly uphold our legitimate rights and interests". China upholds the use of dialogue to resolve disputes but equal treatment and keeping to promises are pre-requisites for dialogue, it said in a statement.

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Washington imposed additional 25 per cent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods July 6 in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. The yuan fell against a trade-weighted basket of currencies to a level that's near the lowest on record, suggesting policy makers are allowing further weakness.

Concerns about the trade war are popping up in various business and consumer confidence surveys, prices for goods hit by various tariffs are on the rise, and businesses are starting to feel the squeeze from the increased prices. The comment period was set to take place later this month, but will now be extended into September, officials said. "We have been very clear about the specific changes China should undertake". "Nor did it make concerted efforts with China".

"With the United States threatening to increase tariffs to 25 per cent from 10 per cent and the Chinese vowing not to react to "blackmail" to get them back to the negotiating table, this could be the catalyst that tips sentiment and some markets into a tailspin to the downside, especially as we enter the lower liquidity holiday trading season". The implementation could be delayed for weeks as the administration works out the details of which products it will target. Because China imports far less from the US than the USA imports from China, it can't keep up tit-for-tat tariffs.

Jake Colvin, vice president of the National Foreign Trade Council, said the Trump administration could be boxing itself into a corner. If tariffs on another $200 billion worth of goods proceeds, about half of all Chinese goods coming into the United States would be subject to trade restrictions.

What's the story on tariffs on China?

The Chinese have already proposed buying more USA goods in order to settle the dispute, only to have the White House-which wants to win a broader argument about intellectual property and subsidies-reject the proposal.