Trump makes good on threat - $200 billion in new tariffs on China

US fires next shot in China trade war

The Trump administration raised the stakes in its trade war with China on Tuesday, saying it would slap 10 percent tariffs on an extra $200 billion (£150.8 billion) worth of Chinese imports.

"For over a year, the Trump administration has patiently urged China to stop its unfair practices, open its market, and engage in true market competition", U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in announcing the proposed tariffs.

US officials say they remain willing to bargain.

Robert Holleyman, the USA official in charge of trade with Asia during former president Barack Obama's second term, described the tariffs as "tax hikes on US imports".

Instead of giving in, however, China hit back with dollar-for-dollar retaliatory tariffs on USA products.

Lighthizer's office plans four days of public hearings on the trade actions starting August 20.

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Tariff hikes are "hitting immediately the bottom line" of companies that rely on the free flow of trade across countries, said Mats Harborn, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China. "There is no justification for such action", he said in a statement.

"As in the past, the United States is willing to engage in efforts that could lead to a resolution of our concerns about China's unfair trade practices and to China opening its market to U.S. goods and services", he added.

Trump authorized an initial $50 billion in tariffs - including the $34 billion that took effect Friday - to match those losses. "Consumers, businesses and the American jobs dependent on trade are left in the crosshairs of an escalating global trade war".

"We expect this will have a meaningful impact on US consumer inflation as well as a meaningful drag on US GDP growth", he said in an interview, citing the Chinese government's pledge to retaliate against new US duties. "This new round of proposed tariffs takes the fight onto yet another level from which it is going to be hard for either side to make a graceful retreat", said Eswar Prasad, former head of the International Monetary Fund's China division.

China, meanwhile has vowed to match any future tariffs dollar-for-dollar, signaling an escalating trade war between the two nations.

The official said the decision was not final and that the list of Chinese goods would not become final until after the public had a chance to comment. "Reliance on more and more taxes as a means to drive change is a high-risk strategy with USA importers and exporters at the heart".

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