Adviser says, 'Blame China, don't blame Trump'

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"Essentially President Trump is playing hard ball to force China to the negotiating table at the WTO to work out a new agreement with the US on technology licensing requirements", said Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at IHS Markit Ltd.in Singapore.

Among the low points: The US national security strategy in December naming China, along with Russian Federation, as threatening American interests; the US increasing naval operations in the South China Sea; and legislation signed by Mr Trump last month calling for Cabinet-level official visits to Taiwan, which is regarded by Beijing as part of China.

Each nation proposed tariffs $50 billion in imports from the other at the start of this week.

But, he said, "at the end of the day, China's unfair and illegal trading actions are damaging to economic growth, for the USA, for China and for the rest of the world".

Mr Trump's proposal intensified what was already shaping up to be the biggest trade battle since the Second World War.

The developments jolted global markets. It ended the day about 570 points down. Leading the decline were airplane giant Boeing, which fell 3.1%, and heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar, which declined 3.5%.

Tariffs on a further $100bn worth of Chinese goods would likely expand the scope of Trump's attack to more consumer goods, reports Reuters. He cited "China's unfair retaliation" in response to his list of proposed tariffs earlier this week covering US$50 billion in Chinese products.

Trump on Thursday instructed the US Trade Representative's Office to consider tariffs on an additional $100bn in Chinese imports, bringing to $150bn the range of Chinese goods under consideration.

"The two biggest categories of US imports from China a year ago were communications and computer equipment, totaling $137bn according to US Census data", Reuters reported. It said the country would not rule out any options.

On Wednesday, China announced plans to levy additional 25% tariffs on U.S. exports worth $50bn, including soybeans.

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China said the date of implementation of the new tariff regime will depend on when the United States government imposes the tariffs on Chinese products.

China vowed to retaliate if the USA imposes newly threatened tariffs on Chinese goods and ruled out engaging in negotiations while Washington is escalating the pressure on Beijing over trade.

Washington has called for the $50 billion in extra duties after it said a probe determined Chinese government policies are created to transfer United States intellectual property to Chinese companies and allow them to seize leadership in key high-technology industries of the future.

White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow talks to reporters outside the White House Friday. "We don't want a trade war, but we are not afraid of such a war", the spokesperson was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.

A tariff, in plain terms, is a tax on goods coming into a country. Even after that, it's not clear when the tariffs would be applied.

This could mostly fizzle out, as both the USA and Chinese tariffs are still only in the proposal stage.

In this case, Trump is attempting to get companies to use fewer Chinese goods and opt for items made in the USA or imported from elsewhere. "Unless the president is bluffing to get the Chinese to the negotiating table ... this is a risky game, in our opinion", the footwear association said.

"No tariffs will go into effect until the respective process is complete", Lighthizer said.

What does it mean for businesses? Studies found that the most recent steel tariff imposed by President George W. Bush in 2002 resulted in as many as 200,000 jobs lost in industries that use steel to make their products. The Beer Institute - a trade group that represents beer manufacturers - said the 10% aluminum tariff would add $347.7 million in costs for American brewers.

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