Trump throws $200 bln tariff bomb at China

Beijing said it would retaliate with tariffs against US$60-billion worth of American products after Trump on Monday imposed 10 per cent tariffs on about US$200-billion worth of imports from China.

"The total value of imported goods from China covered by Trump's tariffs is now USD250bn or roughly 50% of total U.S. imports from China".

On Monday, the USA administration said it will begin to levy new tariffs of 10 percent on about $200 billion of Chinese products on September 24, with the tariffs to go up to 25 percent by the end of 2018. The timing will partially reduce the toll of price increases for holiday shoppers buying Chinese imports in the coming months.

Trump's comments came a day after he targeted another $200 billion in Chinese imports with tariffs starting next week, drawing an immediate vow of retaliation from Beijing. The government has already been ramping up spending on infrastructure. The Chinese slowdown is expected to worsen as the USA tariffs ramp up.

Beijing has said it would also unleash "qualitative" measures against the United States, which some American firms have interpreted as heightened regulations and stalled visas.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Beijing was considering sending Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen to trade talks this month but not Vice Premier Liu He, a senior official who is close to China's president.

Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham warned the trade war between the USA and China would hurt consumers and would have "possible negative effects" on other nation's economies.

"If countries will not make fair deals with us, they will be 'Tariffed!'" Trump wrote.

An official Chinese newspaper called for more aggressive measures to "make American pain worse" following tariff hikes by both sides on $50billion of each other's goods.

"The US insists on increasing tariffs, which brings new uncertainty to the consultations between the two sides", the ministry said.

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Multiple media reports in recent days cite officials saying Trump had chose to press ahead with tariffs on $200 billion in goods as soon as Monday. "Sino-US economic and trade relations are mutually beneficial and win-win, and cooperation is the only correct choice".

This latest round of tariffs marks the third set put into motion so far this year. And the effects are likely to grow if China retaliates again, as it has threatened to do.

Beijing has said it would retaliate to trade war escalation with tariffs of its own as well as qualitative measures, which it has not specified but are perceived within the USA business community as likely to include increased customs and regulatory scrutiny.

It was not clear what statement from Beijing Trump was referring to in his post.

"The president's negotiating tactics do not work well with China's way of thinking", said Sung Won Sohn, chief economist at SS Economics in Los Angeles.

He said Mr Trump wants an offer from China to change that quickly.

"Contrary to views in Washington, China can - and will - dig its heels in, and we are not optimistic about the prospect for a resolution in the short term", William Zarit, chairman of the American U.S. Chamber of Commerce in China, said in a statement Tuesday.

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

A lower tariff rate could soften the blow to USA consumers and manufacturers among others ahead of key U.S. congressional elections in November. The National Association of Chemical Distributors released a study this month that predicted almost 28,000 chemical distributor and supplier jobs would be eliminated because of higher prices from the $200 billion round of tariffs. A USTR spokesman did not respond to queries about the tariffs. "Tariffs are taxes, plain and simple".

The total wave of tariffs thus far has not been large enough to meaningfully affect consumer prices broadly across the economy - only narrowly, for certain products. Chinese stocks gained amid expectations the government will take steps to offset the negative effect of tariffs.

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