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Trump threatens tariff hikes on Chinese goods

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United States President Donald Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on $200bn (£152bn) worth of Chinese goods this week and target hundreds of billions more soon, further increasing pressure on China to reach a trade deal.

Trump backed the new move saying it is because talks on a US-China trade deal are moving at a slow pace.

“The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!” he tweeted.

The US president tweeted that tariffs of 10% on certain goods would rise to 25% on Friday, and $325bn of untaxed goods could face 25% duties “shortly”.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox News that the president’s tweet was a warning.

The Wall Street Journal reported that China was considering cancelling this week’s trade talks in Washington in light of Trump’s comments, which took Chinese officials by surprise.

Both countries have seemed near to striking a trade deal in recent weeks, but stock markets sank and oil prices tumbled as negotiations were thrown into doubt.

U.S. equity futures fell more than two percent and stocks across trade-reliant Asia tumbled, with China’s main indexes plunging five percent.

The trade war resulted in billions of dollars of losses for both sides in 2018, hitting industries including autos, technology – and above all, agriculture, while inflicting collateral damage on export-reliant economies and companies from Japan to Germany.

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