Trump approves plan to impose tough China tariffs

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China vowed on Friday to strike back quickly if the United States hurts its interests, hours before U.S. President Donald Trump was due to unveil revisions to a tariff list targeting $50 billion worth of Chinese goods.

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China has pledged that any tariffs will void progress made in recent trade talks between Beijing and Washington, and has drawn up its own list of $50 billion in USA goods to target.

On Thursday, US Soybean futures fell over 9 cents amid renewed trade tensions.

The $100 billion list will be subject to the same public comment and hearing process as the $50 billion list, so it could take 60 days or more to put into effect, three sources familiar with the Trump administration's thinking on tariff plans told Reuters.

The Trump administration had prepared a refined list of Chinese products to be hit with tariffs that hones in on technologies where China wants to establish itself as a leader, according to five different people familiar with the matter.


Although Pompeo was in Beijing to debrief the Chinese on the Singapore summit, the trade friction was never far from the surface.

"I stressed how important it is for President Trump to rectify that situation so that trade becomes more balanced, more reciprocal and more fair, with the opportunity to have American workers be treated fairly", Pompeo said Thursday during a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

"China opts for the first one and has made such a decision", Wang said before warning, "we hope the USA will make a wise choice and China on its part is prepared on all fronts".

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross earlier this month met Chinese officials in Beijing and took back a Chinese proposal to purchase about US$70 billion worth of additional commodities and manufactured goods.

The White House has said it is proceeding with plans to impose duties on US$50 billion (S$66.7 billion) of Chinese goods, after weeks of high level-discussions between the United States and China yielded little progress.

It remains unclear when Trump would activate the tariffs, if he decides to do so.


The US's initial list of Chinese goods to impose tariffs against included a wide array of products such as raw materials, construction machinery, agricultural equipment, electronics, medical devices, and consumer goods.

Trump also was bullish at and after the recent G7 meetings when he, alongside National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, refused to budge on their financial and trade policies. "I'm not going to get out ahead of the announcement", she said.

In an interview aired on Wednesday, Trump told Fox News he was "very strongly clamping down on trade" with China.

Trump no longer believes that Beijing's influence over North Korea is a compelling reason to ease up on trade talks now that his administration has opened up a direct line of communication with the nuclear-armed country, the first administration official said.

Mr Trump on Tuesday thanked China for tightening its sanctions on trade with North Korea, arguing that the economic pressure along North Korea's north-west border had helped bring Mr Kim to the negotiating table. "They understand what we are doing". But he signaled that whatever the implications, "I have to do what I have to do" to address the trade imbalance.

Those tariffs have already prompted Europe, Mexico, Canada and China to introduce or announce plans for counter-measures in retaliation.


Amid the rising trade tension, China's Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said Chinese exporters have been front-loading their shipments due to changes in the worldwide trade environment.

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