Trump turns up the heat in trade conflict with China


The new taxes are in addition to a 25 percent levy on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods with which Trump has already threatened China.

The president has called for an additional $200 billion in tariffs on products imported from China, which Apple says would impact a wide range of its products, including Apple Watch, Apple Pencil, and Air Pods, and force the company to raise prices.

In a joint letter to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Thursday, 152 trade associations representing farmers and agribusinesses, retailers and others wrote: "Continuing the tit-for-tat tariff escalation with China only serves to expand the harm to more US economic interests, including farmers, families, businesses and workers".

He previously had threatened to hit 100 percent of imports from China if the country failed to address USA concerns over theft of U.S. technology and barriers to American goods and investments.

He told reporters traveling with him to Fargo, North Dakota "behind that, there's another $267 billion ready to go on short notice if I want". He added that he's ready to place yet another round of tariffs on $267 billion in Chinese goods after that - bringing the total imports from China subject to tariffs to more than $500 billion.

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But so far China had not met the Trump administration's requests.

"I don't think this magnitude of tariffs has been priced into the markets", Lara Rhame, chief USA economist at FS Investments, told Bloomberg Television in an interview.

Beijing has warned that it would hit back with duties on US$60 billion in American products - a much smaller figure that shows China will not be able to match United States tariffs dollar-for-dollar.

Trump said Friday that the timing of the tariffs on the $200bn worth of goods is not yet final. All Apple had to do to avoid import taxes was to rebuild all of its manufacturing in the U.S. "Start building new plants now", he tweeted.

Chinese exports to the United States rose to US$44.4 billion in August, a 13.2 per cent increase from the same period previous year, according to customs data.

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Apple Inc. noted in a letter that the government's proposed tariffs on $200 billion cover a wide range of products used in its United States operations, including the Apple Watch.

"Our concern with these tariffs is that the USA will be hardest hit, and that will result in lower U.S. growth and competitiveness and higher prices for United States consumers", Apple said in its letter.

White House Economic advisor Larry Kudlow told CNBC that talks between the USA and China were ongoing. The US and European Union announced a trade truce in July, promising not to impose new tariffs on each other.

"We are still talking with China on a number of issues".

It also said that every Apple product "contains parts or materials from the United States and is made with equipment from US-based suppliers". "These are taxes and they're going to find their way into the pocket book of folks around the country", French said.

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