Trump Ready to Ratchet up China Trade War With More Tariffs

August 31, 2018 Updated: August 31, 2018

WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump is prepared to quickly ramp up a trade war with China and has told aides he is ready to impose tariffs on $200 billion more in Chinese imports as early as  next week, Bloomberg News reported on Aug. 30.

The White House declined comment on the Bloomberg report, which cited six unidentified sources. The news deflated markets. The S&P hit session lows, and the U.S. dollar, Chinese yuan, and U.S. Treasury yields also fell.

Trump has maintained a hard line on China’s trade policies, arguing that they hurt U.S. workers and favor foreign competitors. Washington is demanding Beijing improve market access and intellectual property protections for U.S. companies, cut industrial subsidies, and slash a $375 billion trade gap.

The world’s two largest economies have already applied tariffs to $50 billion of each other’s goods in a tit-for-tat trade war. Talks aimed at easing tensions ended last week without major breakthroughs.

Washington’s new proposed 25 percent tariffs would affect consumer products including home building supplies, technology products, bicycles, and apparel.

A public comment period on the proposal is set to end on Sept. 6, and Trump plans to impose the tariffs after that deadline, Bloomberg said.

Some sources said Trump had not made his final decision, the Bloomberg report said. Trump administration officials have been divided over how hard to push Beijing.

Trump, who has threatened to impose duties on virtually all of the more than $500 billion of Chinese goods exported to the United States each year, told Reuters in an interview earlier this month that resolving the trade war with China would “take time” and that he had “no time frame” for ending it.

By Roberta Rampton.