Could 'soon' impose tariffs on $200bn in Chinese goods, says Trump

People visit an Apple store in Istanbul Turkey

People visit an Apple store in Istanbul Turkey

With U.S. President Donald Trump gearing up to impose tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods and Beijing certain to retaliate against any such measures, the world's two biggest economies are locked in an escalating trade war, with no resolution in sight.

The new duties will start to hit consumer products directly, including furniture, lighting products, tires, bicycles and vehicle seats for babies.

President Donald Trump, surrounded by business leaders and administration officials, prepares to sign a memorandum on intellectual property tariffs on high-tech goods from China, at the White House in Washington, March 22, 2018.

Altogether, the USA tariffs could ultimately hit more than Dollars 500 billion in Chinese goods.

He said Friday that tariffs on another US$200 billion in Chinese goods are "in the hopper" and "could take place very soon". The US imported $505 billion of Chinese products in 2017, Census Bureau figures show.

That resulted in China posting a smaller overall trade surplus of US$27.91 billion for the month.

"Apple prices may increase because of the massive Tariffs we may be imposing on China - but there is an easy solution where there would be ZERO tax, and indeed a tax incentive", Trump tweeted.

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The president's tweet comes just days after Apple sent a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative raising concerns that the additional tariffs that the president proposed would be bad for business.

The world's largest trading nation got off to a strong start this year, but its economic outlook is being clouded by the rapidly escalating US trade dispute and cooling domestic demand.

Most comments were from companies seeking to remove products from the tariff list, arguing there were few, if any alternative sources and the duties would cause financial hardship.

Retailers had successfully kept high-profile consumer electronics such as cell phones and television sets off of previous tariff lists.

Trump, who has demanded that Beijing make major changes in economic, trade and technology policy, told reporters aboard Air Force One that he was "being strong on China because I have to be".

White House Economic advisor Larry Kudlow told CNBC that talks between the USA and China were ongoing. China has threatened retaliation, which could include action against U.S. companies operating there. "We want lower (trade) barriers across the board", Kudlow said.

But the tariffs do not appear to have dented the appetite for Chinese-made products in the United States.

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