Trump fires back at Beijing with threat of new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods

  • President Donald Trump's administration is looking to impose fresh tariffs on products from the world's second largest economy.
  • Beijing, on Friday, announced a 25 percent tariff on $34 billion of U.S. goods after Washington slapped a 25 percent tariff on up to $50 billion of Chinese products.
  • The latest developments are "quite concerning," warned Max Baucus, former U.S. ambassador to China.

President Donald Trump has requested the United States Trade Representative to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs at a rate of 10 percent.

The new duties will go into effect "if China refuses to change its practices, and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced," the president said in a statement provided by the White House late on Monday.

Beijing has pledged to fight back if Trump goes ahead with the new tariffs.

U.S. stock index futures fell following the news, while Asian equity markets were mixed.

It's the latest development in escalating trade tensions between the world's two largest economies. On Friday, the U.S. announced a 25 percent tariff on up to $50 billion of Chinese products, prompting Chinese President Xi Jinping's administration to respond witha 25 percent tariff on $34 billion of U.S. goods.

"It's one thing to retaliate with $50 billion here and $50 billion there but when the [U.S.] president trots out another $200 billion, that's quite concerning," Max Baucus, former U.S. ambassador to China under President Barack Obama, told CNBC.

"This reminds me little bit of an old western ... If there's a gunfight trade war, somebody's going to get hurt," he continued: "Trump is going to have to find some way to back down and let China save face so that both sides can back down gradually and respectfully."

The latest back-and-forth measures have sparked concerns that Washington and Beijing have entered into a full-frontal trade war.

But that hasn't happened yet, cautioned James Cheo, senior investment strategist at the Bank of Singapore. "As of now, the numbers are not large ... when it becomes larger in terms of tit-for-tat retaliation, that would be more worrisome," he said.

In the meantime, however, the situation will remain an overhanging risk for markets, he warned.

See Monday's full statement from Trump here:

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 18, 2018

Statement from the President Regarding Trade with China

On Friday, I announced plans for tariffs on $50 billion worth of imports from China. These tariffs are being imposed to encourage China to change the unfair practices identified in the Section 301 action with respect to technology and innovation. They also serve as an initial step toward bringing balance to our trade relationship with China.

However and unfortunately, China has determined that it will raise tariffs on $50 billion worth of United States exports. China apparently has no intention of changing its unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology. Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening United States companies, workers, and farmers who have done nothing wrong.

This latest action by China clearly indicates its determination to keep the United States at a permanent and unfair disadvantage, which is reflected in our massive $376 billion trade imbalance in goods. This is unacceptable. Further action must be taken to encourage China to change its unfair practices, open its market to United States goods, and accept a more balanced trade relationship with the United States.

Therefore, today, I directed the United States Trade Representative to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs at a rate of 10 percent. After the legal process is complete, these tariffs will go into effect if China refuses to change its practices, and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced. If China increases its tariffs yet again, we will meet that action by pursuing additional tariffs on another $200 billion of goods. The trade relationship between the United States and China must be much more equitable.

I have an excellent relationship with President Xi, and we will continue working together on many issues. But the United States will no longer be taken advantage of on trade by China and other countries in the world.

We will continue using all available tools to create a better and fairer trading system for all Americans.