Trump Ready to Tax an Additional $267B in Chinese Imports

Andrew Cummings
September 8, 2018

U.S. stocks erased gains after his trade-war rhetoric and headed for their first weekly decline in a month.

Those potential tariffs would come on top of tariffs Trump has said he's poised to slap on $200 billion worth of goods from China - everything from handbags to bicycle tires.

Trump said Friday he's willing to slap tariffs on an additional US$267 billion in Chinese goods, on top of duties on US$200 billion in imports that the U.S. is already considering.

Trump tells reporters on Air Force One that his plans to slaps taxes of up to 25 percent on Chinese imports would depend on the choices made by that country's leaders.

"That totally changes the equation", Trump said.

The surplus with the United States was larger than China's net surplus for the month, indicating China would be running a deficit if trade with the world's largest economy was excluded.

The Chinese yuan also fell against the dollar. The president says he believes that narrowing the trade gap will bring jobs to the United States, even though it could spark higher inflation.

A truck transports a container next to stacked containers at a port in Zhangjiagang in China's eastern Jiangsu province.

Even with USA tariffs targeting $50 billion of Chinese exports in effect for their first full month in August, China's exports to the United States still accelerated, growing 13.2 percent from a year earlier from 11.2 percent in July.

Earlier on Friday White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Trump will not make any decisions on his threatened tariffs on another US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods before officials evaluate public comments on them.

China's trade surplus with the United States reached US$31 billion in August, an 18.7 per cent increase from the same month last year and up from its previous record, US$28.9 billion, in June this year, according to customs data.

Chinese officials acknowledged Chinese exporters have been rushing out shipments to beat new US tariffs, buoying the headline growth readings, while some companies such as steel mills are diversifying and selling more products to other countries.

The administration could announce the implementation timeline for the $200 billion in tariffs at any time. "Now, they've got to treat us fairly", he said, and again threatened to impose duties on cars produced in Canada.

If the president followed through with all his proposed tariffs, essentially every good being imported from China would be taxed. Economists caution, though, that the drag on growth would worsen the longer the tariffs were in place.

"China, right now, is a far bigger problem", Trump said.

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