Trump says ready to up China tariff list to US$517 billion

Sergio Conner
September 10, 2018

He wrote: "Start building new plants now". "It's time to stop". The US products targeted by China include coal, copper scrap, fuel, buses and medical equipment.

Update: On the $200 billion in tariffs, Trump said they could be soon depending on what happens.

The U.S. Trade Representative's office received almost 6,000 comments and held seven days of public hearings on the proposed levies.

In the letter, Apple says the tariff list "covers a wide range of Apple products and the products used in our U.S. operations", including the Mac Mini, Apple power adaptors, cables, the Apple Watch, the Apple Pencil and Air Pods. According to Intel, the tariffs will also threaten to slow the country's 5G rollout by increasing the costs for telecommunication providers to upgrade to the faster networks.

In an interview with Bloomberg, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow suggested that President Trump would be willing to meet with China's Xi Jinping, and possibly discuss de-escalating the trade war. Tariffs "are counterproductive and so far have only produced increased costs" for USA businesses and consumers. The US imported $505 billion of goods from China last year and the figure is expected to rise this year.

China has warned of retaliation if Washington launches any new measures.

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The trade gap narrowed in April and May as farmers front-loaded soybean exports to China before Beijing's retaliatory tariffs came into effect in early July.

Chinese exports to the United States rose to $44.4 billion in August, a 13.2 percent increase from the same period past year, according to customs data.

It now is the world's most valuable publicly traded company with over a $1 trillion market cap. If that pace continued for the remainder of this year, Chinese imports would top $548bn - leaving Trump a bit short of complete coverage of Chinese goods.

"China trade war has now become even more hard to discern as both sides step up their attacks and counter-attacks", said Cornell University economist Eswar Prasad, former head of the International Monetary Fund's China division. Cook's personal diplomacy stands in stark contrast to some of his peers in the tech industry, who haven't engaged Trump directly - and often are on the receiving end of far more aggressive tweets attacking their business practices.

The technology sector is one of the biggest potential losers in the proposed $200 billion tariff list.

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