US President Donald Trump approves plan to impose tough China tariffs

US President Donald Trump approves plan to impose tough China tariffs

President Donald Trump approved assessing tariffs on about $50 billion of Chinese goods, said individuals familiar with the decision, as the USA ratcheted up its trade fight with Beijing.

Trump was due to give details later on Friday of a revised list of 800 product categories, down from 1,300, according to an administration official and an industry source familiar with the list.

Geng gave no details but said both the foreign and commerce ministries had made formal responses to earlier USA statements.

Trump will approve the tariffs on Friday, Bloomberg reported overnight, citing two people familiar with the president's thinking.

On Thursday, China reiterated its preference for dialogue to resolve differences, but said it was ready to respond if Trump moved forward with tariffs.

Then in April, the administration provided a preliminary list of technology goods that the US might target for tariffs.

By plowing ahead with tariffs against China, the Trump administration would undermine efforts by the world's two biggest economies to avoid a trade war that the International Monetary Fund has warned could undermine global growth.

Apart from tariff threats, the United States has launched a number of "Section 301" investigations against China over the years, looking into intellectual property protection, market access and industrial subsidies. "China chooses the first", Wang said.

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Beijing has threatened to impose tit-for-tat charges on USA goods if Trump goes ahead, with cars, planes and soybeans believed to be on its list.

Beijing and Washington have held three rounds of high-level talks since early May that have yet to yield a compromise, with Mr Trump unmoved by a Chinese offer to buy an additional US$70 billion worth of USA farm and energy products and other goods, people familiar with the matter have said.

The decision is in line with the president's March directive to the U.S. Trade Representatives office to conduct a section 301 investigation into Chinese trade practices. But he signalled that whatever the implications, "I have to do what I have to do" to address the trade imbalance.

Administration officials have been targeting products where China provides less than a third of total U.S. imports to minimize the effect on consumers.

The White House did not list the meeting between Trump and the officials on a daily schedule of meetings, and the official said that they do not produce lists of attendees for private meetings. "His fundamental commitment to the "deplorables" on the campaign trail was that he was going to bring manufacturing jobs back, particularly from Asia".

"We're asking them to completely change who they are and we're shaking this little stick in front of them", said Derek Scissors, an expert on the Chinese economy at the American Enterprise Institute.

ZTE last week agreed to pay a US$1 billion fine to the U.S. government to end a crippling supplier ban imposed after it broke an agreement to discipline executives who conspired to evade USA sanctions on Iran and North Korea. "It's really not just tariffs, it's tariffs on a scale never before considered". The US has criticised China for the aggressive tactics it uses to develop advanced technologies, including robots and electric cars, under its "Made in China 2025" programme.

By June 30, the administration plans to announce investment restrictions and "enhanced export controls" for Chinese "persons and entities related to industrially significant technology", according to a White House statement last month. So far, Trump has yet to signal any interest in backing away.

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