China accuses Trump of 'blackmail' after new tariffs threat

US President Donald Trump- shown here at the White House earlier this month- has taken a tough stance on trade in his second year in office

Staff members set up Chinese and US flags for a meeting between Chinese Transport Minister Li Xiaopeng and US Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao at the Ministry of Transport of China in Beijing, China April 27, 2018.

The White House said Monday evening that if China goes through with its promise to retaliate against the USA tariffs announced last week, the United States will impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

US President Donald Trump threatened on Monday to impose a 10 per cent tariff on US$200 billion (S$270 billion) of Chinese goods, saying the move was in retaliation for China's decision to raise tariffs on US$50 billion in US goods.

China's Commerce Ministry on Tuesday criticised the latest threat of tariffs, saying it was an "act of extreme pressure and blackmail that deviates from the consensus reached by both parties after many negotiations, and is a disappointment to the worldwide community". "But the United States will no longer be taken advantage of on trade by China and other countries in the world".

"China's threat "clearly indicates its determination to keep the United States at a permanent and unfair disadvantage", Trump said Monday".

"If the U.S. becomes irrational and issues this list, China will have no choice but to adopt strong countermeasures of the same amount and quality", the ministry statement said.

"China apparently has no intention of changing its unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology", Mr. Trump said.

The first round of US tariffs worth $34 billion will go into effect on July 6, while a second batch valued at $16 billion will undergo further review, USTR said last week.

Trump has been insisting that China has been unfairly benefitting from a trade imbalance with the USA for years.

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Trump said that if China responds to this fresh round of tariffs, then he will move to counter "by pursuing additional tariffs on another $200bn of goods".

Carsten Fritsch, a commodities analyst with Commerzbank, said that while China's reduction of imports of Iranian crude should not be overestimated, the decline of production from Venezuela left the country with no choice but to seek alternative sources of oil.

"Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening United States companies, workers, and farmers who have done nothing wrong".

The US leader warned Friday of "additional tariffs" should Beijing hit back with tit-for-tat measures. That means things like tourism and education, industries from which the United States benefits a lot more than China does.

The White House said it would consult on tariffs on the other $16bn of products, and would apply these later.

"While the White House is chasing some imaginary trade deficit, it will have very real consequences for the 1.3 million men and women of our industry".

Starting July 6, the US tariffs will go into effect for 818 Chinese products worth $34 billion a year in imports; the remaining tariffs won't go into effect until the administration collects more public feedback. Check back for more.

Earlier on Monday, stock markets fell amid fears of further deterioration of US-China trade relations.

"Everyone knows. China is the main perpetrator", he said.

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