US President Donald Trump has escalated his trade war with China, saying his administration would impose tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods and was also prepared to tax all imports.
Trump, in a statement released late Monday, showed no sign of backing down from the type of full-blown trade war between the world’s two largest economies that has rattled financial markets, saying he was prepared to “immediately” place tariffs on another $267 billion worth of imports “if China takes retaliatory action against our farmers or other industries”, The New York Times reported.
The tariffs on $200 billion worth of products come on top of the $50 billion worth already taxed earlier this year, meaning nearly half of all Chinese imports into the US will soon face levies.
The next wave of tariffs, which are scheduled to go into effect on September 24, will start at 10 percent before climbing to 25 percent on January 1, 2019.
The timing of the staggering increase will partially reduce the toll of price increases for holiday shoppers buying Chinese imports in the coming months.
“For months, we have urged China to change these unfair practices, and give fair and reciprocal treatment to American companies,” Trump said in the statement.
“We have been very clear about the type of changes that need to be made, and we have given China every opportunity to treat us more fairly. But, so far, China has been unwilling to change its practices.”
Trump said the tariffs are designed to force China to change a range of unfair trade practices, including compelling American companies to surrender their technology in return for access to the Chinese market, reports The Washington Post.
Trump has described the tariffs as leverage in negotiating Chinese policy changes with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
But several preliminary rounds of talks have yielded no agreement and Trump has said he was in no hurry to settle the dispute.
On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had invited the negotiators to Washington this week to resume talks.
But China said it would turn down the offer if the US went ahead with more tariffs, CNN said.
China has accused the US of trade bullying and, to this point, has responded dollar-for-dollar with tariffs of its own.
Beijing has also vowed to retaliate against the latest US tariffs with new import taxes on $60 billion in American products.
In deciding to proceed with additional tariffs, the President ignored pleas from hundreds of US companies that appeared at public hearings last month to oppose the new levies.
Executives complained that the tariffs would make their products more expensive, costing them sales.