Trump ups ante on China, threatens duties on almost all its imports

Shipping containers stand March 23 in a terminal at the Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai. New data show the U.S. goods deficit with China in the seven months through July this year widened about 8 percent to $234 billion from the same period in 2017

President Trump said Friday that he has another $267 billion in tariffs ready to slap on China, calling his testy relationship with that nation "a far bigger problem" than dealing with Russian Federation right now. "[It] could take place very soon depending on them-to a certain extent it depends on China".

He pointed out that 23 per cent of the impending tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese imports targeted consumer products.

While no one predicted a sudden, sharp blow from USA tariffs, China's official export data has been surprisingly resilient so far, with growth exceeding analysts' expectations for five months in a row.

That said, Apple didn't give an estimate of how much the proposed tariffs would contribute to the increased costs of its products.

The US government already imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports in July and another $16 billion last month.

The hearings examining the potential impact of the taxes wrapped up on Thursday, setting expectations that another round of tariffs could be imposed on $200bn (£154.7bn) of Chinese products as early as Friday. "As a result, tariffs will ultimately reduce the economic benefit we generate for the United States", the company writes. "Because all tariffs ultimately show up as a tax on United States consumers, they will increase the cost of Apple products that our customers have come to rely on in their daily lives", the tech giant added.

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Washington has long criticised China's huge trade surplus with the United States and has demanded Beijing reduce it.

Over the first eight months of the year, China's surplus with its largest export market has risen almost 15 percent, adding to tensions in the trade relationship between the world's two largest economies.

Major technology company Apple Inc said a "wide range" of its products would be hit by the tariffs, but not its iPhone.

Cell phones, the biggest USA import from China, have so far been spared, but would be engulfed if Trump activates the $267 billion tariff list. "These are taxes and they're going to find their way into the pocket book of folks around the country", French said.

Trump said Friday that the timing of the tariffs on the $200bn worth of goods is not yet final.

"In the short term, it is hard for the trade gap to narrow because American buyers can not easily find alternatives to Chinese products", Bank of Communications Economist Liu Xuezhi told the Wall Street Journal. "However, hope springs eternal".

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