Trump announces 25% tariff on Chinese imports

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Shortly after Trump's announcement, China's Commerce Ministry said it would impose tariffs immediately and at the same scale as the USA did.

Trump is shaking up the world economic order with his zeal for tariffs and embrace of trade conflict. Officials would not say whether Pompeo explicitly informed the Chinese that the tariffs would be coming imminently. "China's government is aggressively working to undermine America's high-tech industries and our economic leadership through unfair trade practices and industrial policies". Lighthizer added: "Our hope is that it doesn't lead to a rash reaction from China".

"As a soy grower, I depend on trade with China - China imports roughly 60% of total US soybean exports, representing almost 1 in 3 rows of harvested soybeans", Stephens said.

The USTR's final list includes 1,102 product lines, down from about 1,300 initially, mainly focused on China's Made In 2025 plan to become dominant in high-technology industries such as robotics, aerospace, industrial machinery and automobiles. Not included are consumer goods including mobile phones and televisions.

Donald Trump has upped the stakes in the looming trade war with China by confirming he will slap tariffs on $50bn (£37bn) worth of Chinese goods.

"Look, he's my friend, President Xi".

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The decision on China comes in a week when Trump told Fox News in an interview he was "very strongly clamping down on trade" with China. Mexico has already retaliated with its own tariffs on U.S. goods. "We're going to protect those secrets. That is why I am calling on President Trump to fight for American jobs with a comprehensive strategy that puts American economic interests front and centre", she said. The United States now dominates those industries, but Chinese government support has made it hard for USA companies to compete.

Criticism from the American business community came swiftly.

The tariffs will target technology industries where China hopes to become a world leader, after an investigation uncovered rampant intellectual property theft by Chinese companies against U.S. firms. "It's going to make us a much stronger, much richer nation", the USA president said earlier this year.

Beijing has threatened to impose tit-for-tat charges on USA goods if Trump goes ahead, with cars, planes and soybeans believed to be on its list.

The Chinese government is pursuing a $300 billion program of subsidies to enable its companies to dominate next-generation technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and quantum computing, upping the stakes for Trump's efforts to preserve USA technological secrets. The 25% duties are a response to the US's so-called Section 301 investigation earlier this year that accused China of stealing United States intellectual property in an effort to dominate the development of advanced technology. He again complained that he had been blindsided by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's criticism of his tariff threats at a summit-ending news conference.

Sen Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has supported Trump's tough stance on China, but opposes the tariffs.

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The Guardian reports that a European Commission spokesman confirmed that exports of black olives from the region to the United States fell by more than 40% at the start of 2018, with the spokesman noting that olive production in Andalusia has "a very significant economic and social impact".

China immediately threatened to retaliate on $50 billion in USA goods, so Trump upped the ante, vowing to hit another $100 billion of goods.

"A very interesting reading of the geopolitical status of play suggests that after Trump befriended North Korea in Singapore, China lost an important leverage factor".

The announcement caps months of sometimes fraught shuttle diplomacy between Washington and Beijing, in which Chinese offers failed to assuage Trump's grievances over the soaring US-China trade imbalance.

The tariffs cover 1,102 separate product categories, according to a list from the US Trade Representatives Office.

The Trump administration last week cut a deal with Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE to end a crippling ban that prevented the company from buying American parts.

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