Home / World News / Trump pursues China tariffs, fuels fear of trade war – The Denver Post

Trump pursues China tariffs, fuels fear of trade war – The Denver Post

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump embarked Thursday on the sharpest trade confrontation with China in nearly a quarter-century, moving toward imposing tariffs on $60 billion in Chinese goods and limiting China’s freedom to invest in the U.S. technology industry.

The Chinese government fired back hours later, threatening to hit $3 billion in U.S. goods with tariffs. Trump’s announcement was “typical unilateralism and protectionism,” China’s Commerce Ministry said in a statement, and it had set a “very bad precedent.”

“China does not want to fight a trade war, but it is absolutely not afraid of a trade war,” it said in a statement issued Friday morning in Beijing. “We are confident and capable of meeting any challenge. It is hoped that the U.S. side will be able to make a swift decision and not to drag bilateral economic and trade relations into danger.”

Trump’s actions – which sent stocks to their biggest one-day drop in six weeks – followed a government finding that China had treated U.S. companies unfairly by coercing them into surrendering trade secrets for market access.

“We’re doing things for this country that should have been done for many, many years,” the president said at the White House.

Trump directed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to propose within 15 days tariff increases designed to compensate the United States for lost profits and jobs. After a comment period, the list, targeting Chinese products that benefited from U.S. technology, will be made public.

But even as he confronted China over technology, Trump weakened a new tariff meant to protect U.S. production of industrial metals, potentially exempting the European Union, Brazil and other countries accounting for two-thirds of steel imports and more than half of foreign-made aluminum.

By challenging China, Trump rejected the approach of his Republican and Democratic predecessors, gambling that China will bend before he does. “We don’t know how this is going to turn out,” said Scott Kennedy, director of the project on Chinese business at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It could be resolved in a few months, or it could spiral out of control into a broader strategic rivalry.”

Early reviews were not good. On Wall Street, the benchmark Dow Jones industrial average plunged more than 700 points, or almost 3 percent, as investors blanched at the prospect of a trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

“There’s a lot of concern about this administration’s shoot-first approach,” said Josh Bolten, president of the Business Roundtable. “The victims of the actions that the administration is proposing to take are principally Americans.”

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