Trump: No need to rush on China talks

US President Donald Trump has said he is in “absolutely no rush” to finalise a trade agreement with China, hours after the US more than doubled tariffs on many Chinese products.

He said bilateral talks, due to resume in Washington later on Friday, were continuing in a very “congenial” way.

The US action, a sharp escalation of the countries’ damaging trade war, took tariffs on affected Chinese goods to 25 per cent from 10 per cent.

China said it would retaliate.

It said it “deeply regrets” the move and would have to take “necessary counter-measures”.

Only recently, the US and China appeared to be close to ending months of trade tensions.

The US has raised tariffs on $200bn (£153.7bn) worth of Chinese imports, while Mr Trump said a process had begun to place the full 25 per cent tariff on a further $325bn of Chinese goods.

The $100bn of tariffs taken in would be used to buy US agricultural goods, which would then be used for “humanitarian assistance”, President Trump tweeted.

Critics pointed out on Twitter that it is not China who will pay the taxes, but US importers, and ultimately its consumers.

China’s Commerce Ministry confirmed the latest US tariff increase on its website.

“It is hoped that the US and the Chinese sides will work together… to resolve existing problems through co-operation and consultation,” it said in a statement.

Chinese stock markets rose yesterday, with the Hang Seng index up less than 1per cent and the Shanghai Composite more than 3 per cent higher.

However, earlier in the week, stock markets had fallen after US President Donald Trump flagged the tariff rise on Sunday.

The US imposed a 10 per cent tariff on $200bn worth of Chinese products – including fish, handbags, clothing and footwear – last year.

The tariff was due to rise at the start of the year, but the increase was delayed as negotiations advanced.

The US-China trade war has weighed on the global economy over the past year and created uncertainty for businesses and consumers.

Even though Mr Trump has downplayed the impact of tariffs on the US economy, the rise is likely to affect some American companies and consumers as firms may pass on some of the cost, analysts said.

Deborah Elms, executive director at the Asian Trade Centre, said: “It’s going to be a big shock to the economy.” –BBC

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