US President Donald Trump said he has instructed US trade officials to consider US$100 billion in additional tariffs on China, fueling an already heated trade dispute between the world’s two biggest economies, Reuters reports.
Trump said in a statement on Thursday the further tariffs were being considered “in light of China’s unfair retaliation” against earlier US trade actions that included US$50 billion of tariffs on Chinese goods.
He added that the US Trade Representative had determined that China “has repeatedly engaged in practices to unfairly obtain America’s intellectual property”.
In Geneva, the World Trade Organization said China has sought consultations with the United States, the first step in a WTO dispute, over its announced tariffs on US$50 billion worth of Chinese imports.
The notification to the trade watchdog triggered a 60-day deadline for the two sides to settle the complaint or face litigation at the WTO by a neutral panel of arbitrators.
US stock index futures fell in reaction to Trump’s latest statement. Financial markets have swung wildly over the past few days in response to fears of escalating trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.
“Rather than remedy its misconduct, China has chosen to harm our farmers and manufacturers,” Trump said.
The tariffs are aimed at forcing changes to Chinese government policies aimed at transferring US intellectual property to Chinese companies.
The USTR’s “Section 301” investigation authorizing the tariffs alleges China has systematically sought to misappropriate US intellectual property through joint venture requirements that often cannot be negotiated without technology transfers, something China denies.
The tariffs have stirred fears that the two countries will spiral into a trade war that will crush global growth.
The Trump administration this week proposed 25 percent tariffs on some 1,300 Chinese industrial and other products. China shot back with a list of similar duties on American imports including soybeans, planes, cars, beef and chemicals.
The retaliatory tariffs have left Republican lawmakers from Western and Midwestern states fearful of a big hit to US farming exporters.
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