China's exports fall ahead of crucial trade talks

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China's commerce ministry said on Wednesday it would take retaliatory measures if Washington went ahead with a plan to raise tariffs on Chinese imports on Friday.

The tariffs were put on hold when President Donald Trump and China's Xi Jinping agreed to a trade truce while the two nations negotiated a deal.

On Monday, the United States president issued another threat to raise the tariffs on Chinese imports as part of an ongoing trade spat between the world's two biggest economies.

Beijing has said it will respond in kind if President Trump imposes higher tariffs on Chinese goods on Friday.

"Guess what, that's not going to happen!"

The Chinese vice premier Liu He is now travelling to the U.S. for two days of trade talks; with the latest tariff hike scheduled for midnight EDT on Friday, the changes will arrive in the middle of his trip.

But their arrival is unlikely to stop the United States from going ahead with plans to raise import taxes on $USUS200 billion ($280 billion) in Chinese goods at 12.01am Friday, New York time, in a dramatic escalation of a year-long trade war.

"Tariffs are taxes paid by American businesses and consumers, not by China", said David French, senior vice president for government relations at the National Retail Federation in a statement. Trump's decision to potentially upend an agreement that many expected to be finalized this week in Washington appears to be a political calculation that staying tough on China will be a better proposition in the 2020 campaign.

Investors and analysts questioned whether Trump's tweet was a negotiating ploy to wring more concessions from China. "Over the last week or so, we have seen an erosion in commitments by China".

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Geng Shuang also said that Vice Premier Liu He, considered Beijing's top negotiator, would be among the group.

Meanwhile, a notice posted in the Federal Register revealed on Wednesday that the Trump administration will increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent effective 10 May.

Trump's new tariff announcements have tanked stock markets worldwide as investors, like anxious United States farmers and businesses, had been banking on a resolution to the year-long conflict that has engulfed $360 billion in two-way trade.

Still, some investors may not want to get on the wrong side of the trade in the event a deal is hammered out as Chinese officials are in Washington this week to continue negotiations.

Disagreements between U.S. and Chinese officials have deepened over the past week over accusations that Beijing would renege on commitments made earlier in negotiations that aimed to end the two countries' trade war.

The politically sensitive trade surplus with the U.S. remained large, widening to $21 billion last month from $20.5 billion in March.

He added: "With global interest rates mostly at, or near, record lows except for the USA, the world's central banks are ill-placed to cut rates to stimulate growth, as they reap the harvest of their excessively easy monetary policies over the last 10 years".

Washington has demanded far-reaching and profound changes to the Chinese economy, such as submitting state enterprises to market principles, reducing massive subsidies and ending the alleged "theft" of U.S. technology.

However, economists and even Trump's fellow Republicans in Congress, stress that U.S. importers and consumers are the ones that pay the price for higher tariffs.

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