Trump doubles down on trade spat with China


Responding to Trump's comments, the commerce ministry on Friday reiterated in a statement that China was not afraid of a trade war even though it did not seek one, and said the conflict had been provoked by the United States.

The USTR announced a list of roughly 1,300 Chinese goods that would be subject to $50 billion in US tariffs on Tuesday.

Gao gave no details of what measures Beijing might take.

Mr Trump's proposal intensified what was already shaping up to be the biggest trade battle since the Second World War.

The tit-for-tat has rattled stock markets on worries over a full-blown trade war between two of the world's largest economies.

Were China to want to match Trump's latest threat, it wouldn't have enough American goods imports to target.

China announces it will impose additional tariffs of 25% on 106 U.S. goods including soybeans, autos, chemicals, some types of aircraft and corn products and other agricultural goods.

The President has also told agricultural officials to implement a plan to protect USA farmers and agricultural interests.

"Rather than remedy its misconduct, China has chosen to harm our farmers and manufacturers", the Republican president said.

China hit back within hours with its own threatened tariffs on United States imports including soybeans, planes, cars, whiskey and chemicals. The Chinese list Wednesday included soybeans, the biggest USA export to China, and aircraft up to 45 tons (41 metric tons) in weight. Also on the list were American beef, whiskey, passenger vehicles and industrial chemicals.

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China responded with proposed tariffs on fresh fruit, pork and recycled aluminium, accounting for $3 billion of United States exports previous year. After a bullish regular trading day, US equity futures sold off sharply in after-market-hours trading. While oil market watchers were wary of the brewing trade war between the United States and China, they did not expect to see steep falls amid signs of tightening supplies.

The statement from Beijing came after Trump ordered his administration to consider tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese goods on Thursday, sending USA stock futures tumbling. "Under these circumstances, the President is right to ask for additional appropriate action to obtain the elimination of the unfair acts, policies, and practices identified in USTR's report".

"The Chinese side will follow suit to the end and at any cost, and will firmly attack, using new comprehensive countermeasures, to firmly defend the interest of the nation and its people", the Commerce Ministry said in a statement on its website on Friday.

The US president on Thursday instructed the US trade representative to consider the additional tariffs.

Trump also said the USA was "still prepared to have discussions in further support of our commitment to achieving free, fair, and reciprocal trade and to protect the technology and intellectual property of American companies and American people". Either way, Trump said he was still open to talks, but only if they were aimed at achieving "free, fair, and reciprocal trade".

The surprise move was a further escalation of the deepening dispute between the two economic powers, which just days earlier announced plans for $50 billion in import duties on each other's goods.

Gao said, "under these circumstances, the two sides can not possibly conduct any negotiations about this issue".

China vowed to retaliate, saying Friday that the country would not rule out any options.

Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) agricultural commodities traded mixed on Friday morning, with soybean and corn futures lower, as investor were anxious about escalating trade tensions between China and the United States.

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