Published: Wed, September 19, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

Trump accuses China of trying to 'impact' USA election with trade war

Trump accuses China of trying to 'impact' USA election with trade war

"China hopes the United States would recognise the negative consequences of its actions, and take convincing steps to correct its behaviour in a timely manner".

The administration also threatened to pursue additional tariffs on $267 billion worth of Chinese goods, if Beijing retaliates against American farmers or other USA industries.

But in a last-minute reprieve, he spared smart watches from Apple and other consumer products like bicycle helmets and baby auto seats from the tariffs. However, should China retaliate - Bloomberg headlines suggest there will be retaliatory tariffs launched simultaneously - then all Chinese imports into the U.S. will face tariffs.

The US imported around US$500 billion worth of products from China previous year, compared to US$130 billion in US goods imported by the Asian country.

Trump has reversed decades of US policy in favor of ever-freer trade.

"President Trump is a hard-hitting businessman, and he tries to put pressure on China so he can get concessions from our negotiations".

In remarks from the Roosevelt Room, he said he was confident an agreement could eventually be reached with China, but stressed such an accord must do right by American workers.

The tariffs are set to begin on September 24 with a levy of 10 percent, before ramping up to 25 percent on January 1.

Beijing has previously released a list of $60 billion in American-made goods subject to its retaliatory tariffs. China has retaliated in kind.

But that doesn't mean China won't respond to the Trump administration's tariffs.

He said Mr Trump wants an offer from China to change that quickly.

China will further respond accordingly if the United States insists on increasing tariffs, according to the finance ministry.

Trump is due to make the announcement after the close of US stock markets, where major indices were already sinking sharply in anticipation of what could be a major escalation in the US-China trade conflict.

The lack of progress and collapse of that deal have made future negotiations more hard, as it's unclear who speaks for the USA administration and there's a lack of confidence that any deal will be honored.

Such a move risks deepening the standoff, with President Donald Trump saying in a statement on Monday the USA would immediately pursue further tariffs on about $267bn of Chinese imports if Beijing retaliates.

"We were trying to do things that were least intrusive on the consumer", US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said yesterday on CNBC. The Australian dollar is sliding, with markets now watching for China's yuan-fixing at 11:15am AEST. It has weakened by about 6.0 per cent since mid-June, offsetting the 10 per cent tariff rate by a considerable margin.

The tech giant, therefore, sent a letter to the US Trade Representative asking the office to spare its products.

But the adjustments did little to appease technology and retail groups who argued USA consumers would feel the pain.

Adam Posen, a leading trade expert and President of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said at a forum Monday that the tariff strategy is destined to fail, as it will not resolve trade disputes but will stifle US competitiveness and undermine consumption power of the USA working class. Millions of iDevices are exported from manufacturers in China each year, and Chinese government officials have explicitly suggested that those products could be casualties in the trade war.

"Consumers - not China - will bear the brunt of these tariffs and American farmers and ranchers will see the harmful effects of retaliation worsen".

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow has indicated that Trump could be willing to meet face-to-face with China President Xi Jinping to smooth over trade tensions at the United Nations General Assembly later this month or at the Group of 20 nation summit in Argentina in November.

The White House has sought to pressure Beijing to reduce its trade surplus with the USA and protect intellectual property rights of American companies, which it says are abused in China.

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