US to slap tariffs on extra $200 billion of Chinese imports

Shipping containers are seen at a port in Shanghai

US to slap tariffs on extra $200 billion of Chinese imports

The president last month asked the U.S. Trade Representative's office to identify US$200 billion of Chinese goods that could be hit with 10 percent tariffs. President Donald Trump has threatened higher tariffs on more than US$500 billion of goods, or almost all of China's annual exports to the United States.

USA officials will hold hearings in late August on the list of targeted products and an administration official said it would take about two months to finalise, at which point Trump would decide whether to go ahead with the levies.

In a statement, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that the new 10-percent tariffs were in response to what he called China's "retaliation and failure to change its practices".

Calling Washington's behavior irrational, Beijing warned that the U.S. is, in the first instance, hurting itself with protectionist measures and constant attacks on free trade.

China immediately retaliated with duties on the same value of USA goods, including soybeans and cars.

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'TARIFFS ARE TAXES' Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, a senior member of Trump's Republican Party, said the announcement "appears reckless and is not a targeted approach".

Chinese tactics, the administration said, include outright cybertheft and forcing US companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market.

But it could interfere with American automakers and retailers who see China as a key market by regulating import licenses or investigating USA firms for tax, environmental, and antitrust concerns, according to the Associated Press.

China responded to U.S. President Donald Trump's threats by accusing the United States of bullying and warned that it would hit back.

The tariff list could be released as soon as Tuesday, and likely this week, the report said.

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"There is still a good six or seven weeks before these (tariffs) take effect so it is not like we are going to see these tomorrow, but it is definitely the next step in a trade war", TD Securities global strategist James Rossiter said.

China's government has criticized the latest USA threat of a tariff hike as "totally unacceptable" and vowed to retaliate in their escalating trade war.

Li said that the latest U.S. proposals would hurt both countries and pointed to declines in Chinese export growth and overseas investment to the USA in the first half of this year. In this round, China accounted for more than half of the imports. USA crude oil futures settled down 5 percent on the trade dispute escalation and as expectations of growing supplies increased on news that Libya would reopen ports.

"Judging from (China's) economic fundamentals and corporate earnings expectations, which are under pressure amid the trade war with the United States, the stock market is yet to reach a bottom", said Yan Kaiwen, an analyst with China Fortune Securities.

Regulators can deny or cancel licenses or tie up companies by launching tax, environmental or anti-monopoly investigations.

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Trump has campaigned on the claim that trade partners are taking advantage of Americans due to "terrible deals" made by previous USA presidents. French said. "The way things are shaping up, it may be too late, but we hope the administration changes course before we lose the momentum from tax and regulatory reform and return to an era of high prices, job loss and negative growth in our economy".

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