Trade War Escalates as Trump Pushes for $200 Billion in Tariffs

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The US administration on Friday imposed 25% duties on Chinese imports worth $34 billion (Rs 23,454 crore) after threatening to do so for months.

More than 6,000 items could be affected - including burglar alarms, vehicle tyres, handbags, baseball gloves, carpets, toilet paper, dog food, and hundreds of food products.

President of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, Mats Harborn speaks during the release of a report in Beijing, China, Tuesday, July 10, 2018.

President Donald Trump has threatened to tax as much as $550 billion in Chinese products - an amount that exceeds America's total imports from China a year ago.

He said: "As in the past, the United States is willing to engage in efforts that could lead to a resolution of our concerns about China's unfair trade practices and to China opening its market to us goods and services".

"The United States has unveiled the list of tariffs in an escalating manner", a spokesperson for China's Ministry of Commerce said.

The tariffs will not be imposed until after a two-month period of public comment on the proposed list, but some United States business groups and senior lawmakers were quick to criticise the move.

Orrin Hatch, the Republican Senate Finance Chairman, condemned the move as "reckless" and not "targeted", while U.S. stock index futures fell in early Asian trading.

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"Since the new tariffs won't be in place for two months, markets could soon calm down, although we will have to see how share markets, especially Chinese shares, will react to this", he said. This has raised concerns that China could retaliate with non-tariff trade measures.

"As a result of China's retaliation and failure to change its practices, the president has ordered USTR to begin the process of imposing tariffs of 10% on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports", Lighthizer said.

Chinese authorities implemented tit-for-tat tariffs on key USA exports into China, including some major agricultural products.

Whether the trade war continues will depend on the political reaction to the current tariffs, says Gary Hufbauer, senior nonresident fellow at the Peterson Institute.

The heightened trade tensions pose risks to South Korea, Asia's fourth-largest economy, as both the United States and China are the country's major trading partners.

Li Chenggang, an assistant minister at the Commerce Ministry, had earlier told reporters that the USA is escalating the trade war, which is an irresponsible move.

Should China choose to sell enough of that debt in the form of bonds, it could drive up the cost of borrowing in the USA and cause havoc on world markets. "Right now, world trade is relatively chaotic. It has to resolutely fight back while taking proper measures to help minimize the cost to domestic enterprises and further open up its economy to global investors", it said.

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