Vietnam posts $3.1-billion trade surplus in Jan-July

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The Trump administration plans to propose slapping a 25-percent tariff on $200 billion of imported Chinese goods after initially setting them at 10 percent, in a bid to pressure Beijing into making trade concessions, a source familiar with the plan said on Tuesday.

American companies have started to feel the pinch as well from global steel and aluminum tariffs and the first tranche of China-specific duties that cover just $34 billion of imports.

- China's foreign minister said Thursday that US threats to hike tariffs run against the trend toward globalization and will hurt USA businesses and consumers.

It's unclear if the Chinese government is purposely pushing the value of its currency down or if that has been a market-based reaction to concerns about how US tariffs could hurt China's economy.

"If the USA takes measures to further escalate the situation, we will surely take countermeasures to uphold our legitimate rights and interests", a Chinese foreign affairs ministry spokesman said Wednesday, according to Bloomberg, which first reported the proposed escalation.

Daniel Ujczo, a lawyer with Dickinson Wright PLLC in Columbus, Ohio, said the USA has a big incentive to smooth over the differences with friendly countries and get the tit-for-tat tariffs removed.

The U.S. imported $505 billion worth of Chinese goods in 2017 while China imported $130 billion worth of American products, according to the Commerce Department.

The Chinese government has warned that the country will retaliate with trade restrictions of equal measure if Trump follows through on the threat. After the earlier tariffs $34 billion of US goods, about $120 billion is available for retaliation.

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Canada's absence from this week's talks raised suspicions that the United States was pursuing a divide-and-conquer strategy with its two trading partners, isolating Canada to pressure it into agreeing with whatever the USA and Mexico came up with.

"China has illegally retaliated against USA workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses".

Officials said they remained in regular contact with their Chinese counterparts but could announce no new meeting.

"China's position remains clear and unchanged: blackmail and United States pressure against the PRC will never work", the diplomat said, answering the question on the issue.

The USTR said it will extend a public comment period for the US$200 billion list to Sep 5 from Aug 30 due to the possible tariff rate rise.

He said China has always believed that the disputes should be resolved through talks and communications, but the dialogue should be based on "equality and respect as well as established rules and credibility".

It would represent a ramping up of pressure over Washington's trade standoff with Beijing.

Meanwhile, in corporate America, it appears that there is just one thing executives are talking about: tariffs. History nearly guarantees that consumers will be picking up the tab for the US-Chinese trade dispute.