Trump turns up the heat in trade conflict with China

Alvis Upitis  Newscom

The new round of tariffs would be on top of the $200 billion in Chinese goods the administration has already targeted.

"I hate to say this, but behind that there is another US$267 billion ready to go on short notice if I want", Trump was reported by The Wall Street Journal as saying on Air Force One.

While China's response to USA demands has been unsatisfactory, Trump is still speaking to Xi, and would be open to meeting in person, said Kudlow, director of the White House's National Economic Council.

The deadline has now passed for companies to submit their opinions to the US government about its proposed new tariffs on China.

President Donald Trump threatened on Friday (Sept 8) to slap tariffs on all of the Chinese goods imported into the United States, ramping up the already tense trade relations with Beijing.

China said it is ready to impose retaliatory tariffs on $60bn worth of USA goods if that happens.

He previously had threatened to hit 100 percent of imports from China if the country failed to address United States concerns over theft of United States technology and barriers to American goods and investments. China has threatened retaliation, which could include action against USA companies operating there. "We want lower (trade) barriers across the board", Kudlow said.

The fresh tariff threat would be in addition to the $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods the Trump administration is considering, which Trump said "will take place place very soon depending on what happens".

Trump has had Beijing in his crosshairs since he took office and has applied increasing pressure to try to convince it to change its policies, allow more USA imports and reduce the $335-billion U.S. trade deficit with China. USA stocks erased gains after Trump's remarks.

The trade war the president has initiated between the world's two largest economies stems from concerns that China has deployed predatory tactics - including cyber-theft - to try to supplant America's technological supremacy.

The Nasdaq 100 Index capped its worst week since March as Apple slumped on its warning that the Trump administration's musing over levying virtually everything imported from China would hit a broad range of its products.

Kudlow, who heads the National Economic Council, told CNBC the administration was still talking with China about trade issues but so far China had not met United States requests.

"We are still talking with China on a number of issues".

On Thursday, Cisco Systems Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. and other technology companies sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer urging the administration to avoid imposing more tariffs. "However, hope springs eternal".

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