USA unveils tariffs on $200 billion more in Chinese imports

Soybean prices have fallen dramatically in recent weeks.
Daniel Acker  Bloomberg

Trump has said he may ultimately impose tariffs on more than US$500 billion worth of Chinese goods - roughly the total amount of United States imports from China past year.

China vowed to challenge the "completely unacceptable" move at the World Trade Organisation as global stock markets fell back in Asia and Europe this morning.

United States trade representative Robert Lighthizer announced that the United States was acting because China had not heeded previous warnings.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration announced that it would assess an additional 10 percent tariff on up to $200 billion of Chinese goods.

"We can not turn a blind eye to China's mercantilist trade practices, but this action falls short of a strategy that will give the administration negotiating leverage with China while maintaining the long-term health and prosperity of the American economy", he said in a statement.

China said it is "shocked" after the U.S. announced plans for fresh tariffs, escalating a trade war between the two countries. "At the same time, China will report the US' unilateral behaviour to the World Trade Organization", reports China News.

During its trade dispute with the U.S., which has seen the world's two biggest economies impose new import tariffs on each other's goods, China could increase its imports of soybeans from South American countries, Cofco president Yu Xubo said in an interview with the Communist Party's official People's Daily.

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"The Chinese side is shocked by the actions of the USA", it said in a statement, according to a translation by Google.

"Tonight's announcement appears reckless and is not a targeted approach", Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, said in a statement.

China's Commerce Ministry slammed the latest USA threat as a "totally unacceptable" escalation of their dispute and promised to protect its "core interests".

"There is still a good six or seven weeks before these (tariffs) take effect so it is not like we are going to see these tomorrow, but it is definitely the next step in a trade war", TD Securities global strategist James Rossiter said.

Just when the Dow Jones seemed poised to break past 25,000, news of an extra $200 billion in tariffs on China knocked it back down, and the media is in an absolute frenzy.

Trump has repeatedly complained the USA has been "ripped off" by other countries for decades, citing trade deficits. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost more than 1 per cent, as did Japan's Nikkei as the yen received something of a safety bid.

China's assistant commerce minister Li Chenggang said earlier on Wednesday that the latest proposed tariffs harms the World Trade Organisation (WTO) system and hurts globalisation. "In the absence of such discussions, the USA and China seem set for a more full-blown trade war, with major economic implications for themselves and the global economy".

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