The Trump administration promised Apple it would not place tariffs on iPhones

Virginia Carson
June 20, 2018

Additionally, the president has promised further escalation in his attack on China's alleged theft of intellectual property and unfair trade practices should it respond with more tariffs on United States goods, promising to pursue tariffs on yet another $200bn of Chinese products.

President Donald Trump on Monday raised the stakes in a growing trade dispute with China, ordering trade officials to draw up a list of $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that would be hit with an additional 10 percent tariff.

China's Commerce Ministry on Tuesday criticised the latest threat of tariffs, saying it was an "act of extreme pressure and blackmail that deviates from the consensus reached by both parties after many negotiations, and is a disappointment to the worldwide community". The tariffs were quickly matched by China on USA exports, a move that drew the president's ire. The Australian dollar, often seen as a proxy to China-related trades, brushed a one-year low of $0.7381.

"The trade relationship between the United States and China must be much more equitable", he said in explaining his latest decision. He said the move would be in retaliation for China's decision to raise tariffs on $50 billion in US goods.

In announcing the possibility of new $200 billion in tariffs, Trump mentioned that he still has an "excellent relationship" with Chinese president Xi Jinping.

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Stock markets have fallen around the world in the wake of President Trump's latest tariffs threat to China.

The fact that America imports more from China will make it harder for Beijing to match Trump's attacks, according to Derek Scissors, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington who focuses on China.

"Global sentiment is on the back foot amid signs that neither side will back down, potentially taking global commerce a step closer to an unwelcome trade war", Mike van Dulken, the head of research at Accendo Markets, wrote in a note Tuesday morning.

China had offered to ramp up purchases of American goods by only $70 billion to help cut the yawning trade imbalance with the United States, whereas Trump had demanded a $200 billion deficit cut. "It's not easy but we're getting there", he told a group of USA small business executives.

Mr. Trump had announced a 25 percent tariff on up to $50 billion in Chinese imports.

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"Aircraft, chips and energy imported from the United States could be subject to [punitive tariffs]" he said. Already, about $208 billion of those goods were subject to some form of import tax.

"This is a global trade war, plain and simple, and the American families will be the ones who suffer most", added Hun Quach, vice president of worldwide trade for the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

"Trump appears to be employing a similar tactic he used with North Korea, by blustering first in order to gain an advantage in negotiations", said Kota Hirayama, senior emerging markets economist at SMBC Nikko Securities in Tokyo.

Rather than looking weak with a veto, Trump's threat of dramatically escalating tariffs is a show of strength that has scared investors and may also scare Republican senators into backing down.

United States politics may restrain Trump.

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