US threatens to impose fresh tariffs on China

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China has reacted strongly to the United States' announcement of new tariffs on US$200 billion (S$272 billion) of Chinese goods, calling it "totally unacceptable" and "typical bullying", and warning that Beijing will take counter-measures.

The latest escalation in the trade dispute sent markets lower.

The additional 6,031 product lines would be hit with a 10 percent tariff.

US President Donald Trump ordered his government to prepare tariffs on a further US$200bn of imports from China on Monday.

Americans won't officially announce whether these tariffs will go ahead until after August 31, but some industries are already feeling the pinch.

More than 6,000 items could be affected - including burglar alarms, vehicle tyres, handbags, baseball gloves, carpets, toilet paper, dog food, and hundreds of food products.

China has become a key trade partner for US energy exports, and potential tariffs on USA energy goods could hurt US producers and industries. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch called it "reckless", adding that the tariffs were "not a targeted approach".

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The U.S. government said the new tariffs are in response to Beijing's June 15 tariffs on $50 billion in U.S. exports, which were themselves in retaliation for President Trump's initial tariffs against China. The list covers some $200 billion in Chinese exports that could be hit by a 10 percent tariff.

A senior administration official told Fox News that China has been "non-responsive" to US actions and has insisted that Beijing does not see any way America has been hurt by Chinese policies.

However, because China exports more to the USA than it imports there are limits on the amount of tariffs Beijing can impose on American goods.

The fight with China comes as Mr. Trump is also locked in a trade war with Canada, Mexico, the European Union and other US allies. While China matched tariffs on US$34 billion in goods, dollar-for-dollar, state media coverage of the trade war has been relatively subdued. The trade war could also jeopardize China's help in confronting North Korea's nuclear program.

The USTR, the federal agency that oversees worldwide trade policy and negotiations, said it was responding to Beijing's decision to retaliate instead of changing its policies.

But China has rebuffed USA complaints and denied any harm was done to US companies, and instead retaliated "without any worldwide legal basis or justification", Lighthizer said. Chinese tariffs have already impacted US exports such as soybeans. Shares of Advance Auto Parts Inc were down 1.1 percent, Autozone Inc fell 1.6 percent and O'Reilly Automotive Inc dropped 1.6 percent.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said China's retaliatory tariffs were "without any global legal basis or justification". These groups and their GOP members of Congress - previously broadly supportive of Mr. Trump - have begun agitating for the President to ease up in his trade war. "China apparently has no intention of changing its unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology", Trump said.

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