Trump promises additional $200B in tariffs if China retaliates

June 19 (UPI) — President Donald Trump upped the ante late Monday in the U.S. trade war with China, vowing to hit Beijing with an extra $200 billion in tariffs if it retaliates for the fiscal penalties he imposed last week.

Trump said in a statement actions by China clearly indicate a “determination to keep the United States at a permanent and unfair disadvantage, which is reflected in our massive $376 billion trade imbalance in goods.”

“This is unacceptable,” Trump added. “Further action must be taken to encourage China to change its unfair practices, open its market to United States goods, and accept a more balanced trade relationship with the United States.”

The president has long complained about existing U.S. trade deals with other nations — including the North American Free Trade Agreement and Trans-Pacific Partnership, which he abandoned last year — and said they are not beneficial to U.S. interests.

Friday, Trump announced a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. Beijing quickly threatened tariffs against U.S. exports.

Trump said Monday additional tariffs of 10 percent will be imposed if China follows through on the threat.

“The United States will no longer be taken advantage of on trade by China and other countries in the world,” he said.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry accused the United States Tuesday of “extreme pressure and extortionist behavior” and vowed to “strike back hard.”

“The trade war waged by the United States is against both the law of the market and the development trend of today’s world,” a ministry spokesperson said. “It undermines the interests of the Chinese and American people, the interests of companies and the interests of the people all over the world.”

Some experts fear the back-and-forth between Beijing and Washington could rapidly escalate.

“The tit-for-tat brings the two sides closer to a full-blown trade war,” said Louis Kuijs, head of Asian economics at research firm Oxford Economics. “While there is, in principle, still room for negotiation, attitudes seem to be hardening.”