China's Commerce Ministry criticized the White House action as blackmail and said Beijing was ready to retaliate. "I'm relying on the self-interest of people across the Unites States", he said. "It's not easy but we're getting there", he told a group of USA small business executives. Chinese officials have promised to respond accordingly if Trump continues to ratchet up tensions.
In a subsequent statement issued Monday, Robert Lighthizer, head of the USTR office, said his staff was preparing the proposed tariffs as instructed by the president. On June 15, Trump announced tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports.
The escalation in the dispute with China may also serve as a warning to other trading partners with whom Mr. Trump has been feuding, including Canada and the European Union.
"Whether that's threatening our technology leadership through intellectual property theft or forced technology transfer, we are hard at ensuring that we protect American property", he said.
Stocks are sliding and bonds are rallying as fears mount about an escalating U.S. Canada, for its part, has shot back with tariffs on a host of USA goods set to take effect in July.
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Some companies have reported Beijing is meeting with Chinese businesses to discuss shifting contracts for us goods and services to suppliers from Europe or Japan, or to local Chinese firms, Parker said.
The initial US tariffs are aimed at items such as semiconductors, electronics, plastics and other goods from sectors expected to benefit from China's "Made in 2025" initiative to dominate the world in technology areas such as robotics, driverless cars and advanced medical devices. That means things like tourism and education, industries from which the United States benefits a lot more than China does. Trump had seemed set to sign onto a deal that would have done relatively little to narrow the massive US trade deficit with China.
Months of tit-for-tat trade measures between Beijing and Washington have had a fairly limited impact on currencies up to now.
Both the U.S. and Chinese tariffs are slated to go into effect on July 6. Resolving the trade dispute quickly would decrease the likelihood of manufacturing disruptions for upcoming iPhones, iPads, and Macs, most of which will be assembled in Chinese or Taiwanese factories weeks or months before shipping to other countries. China is following a similar schedule.
Leading the fall in Hong Kong was Chinese telecom giant ZTE, plunging almost 26% and shedding almost two-thirds of its value since striking a deal with the Trump administration to lift a ban on using critical U.S. components. Congress scorned Trump's amnesty for ZTE; the press revealed that China hadalready been planning to increase its intake of American agriculture before negotiations with the White House had even begun; and the White House's China hawks pushed the president to chart a tougher course. The company was originally fined $1.2 billion in 2017 for making illegal sales to Iran and North Korea.