Doubling of China trade tariffs 'ready to go'

Trump signals escalation of trade war with China, says he has tariffs ready on another $267-billion of imports

Trump signals escalation of trade war with China, says he has tariffs ready on another $267-billion of imports

President Donald Trump concedes that some Apple Inc. products may become more expensive if his administration imposes "massive" additional tariffs on Chinese-made goods, but he says the tech company can fix the problem by moving production to the U.S. To a certain extent its going to be up to China, Trump said.

The Trump administration is ready to move ahead with the next round of tariffs after a public comment period ends at midnight in Washington on September 11, but the timing is uncertain, people familiar with the administration's plans told Reuters.

He said he could move "very soon" to impose tariffs on $200bn (£155bn) worth of products with taxes on another $267bn "ready to go on short notice". "That totally changes the equation".

On Thursday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Bloomberg that Trump is willing to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping if China shows a willingness to compromise.

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Shares of Apple closed down 0.8 percent in regular Nasdaq trade on Friday, and slipped another 1 percent in extended trading. The U.S. Trade Representative Office and the White House have yet to issue a final decision.

"I don't think this magnitude of tariffs has been priced into the markets", Lara Rhame, chief US economist at FS Investments, told Bloomberg Television in an interview.

President Donald Trump uses the tariffs to combat what he calls unfair trade practices by China and other countries. Now, the Trump administration "has begun to hit things clearly not processed in the USA - consumer goods - and this is going to get people's attention".

But, they'd also be hit by the threatened 267 billion dollar list.

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Dell, Cisco, Juniper Networks and Hewlett Packard Enterprise wrote a joint letter to the U.S. Trade Representative seeking an exemption from $200 billion in new tariffs.

China has said it's ready to impose retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion of US goods.

But while moving its manufacturing operations to the USA would allow it to skip the tariffs, Apple's products likely wouldn't be any cheaper. That represents a small portion of Apple's $229 billion in overall sales.

China's trade surplus with the United States reached $31 billion in August, an 18.7 percent increase from the same month last year and up from its previous record, $28.9 billion, in June this year, according to customs data.

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A part of Apple's letter, which was first reported on by Bloomberg, reads, "It is hard to see how tariffs that hurt US companies and USA consumers will advance the Government's objectives with respect to China's technology policies". With Beijing already indicating that they would retaliate if additional tariffs are confirmed, investors are being reminded that the prolonged trade tensions are simply refusing to go away. The US products targeted by China include coal, copper scrap, fuel, buses and medical equipment. The president says he believes that narrowing the trade gap will bring jobs to the United States, even though it could spark higher inflation. "It's just another indication we're not out of the woods yet", she said.

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