Washington (AFP) – US President Donald Trump dramatically escalated a bubbling trade war with China on Thursday, vowing an additional $100 billion in tit-for-tat tariffs.
Having already asked for $50 billion worth of Chinese goods to be punitively taxed, Trump responded to Beijing’s countermeasures by doubling down.
“Rather than remedy its misconduct, China has chosen to harm our farmers and manufacturers,” Trump said in a defiant statement.
“In light of China’s unfair retaliation,” Trump said he had instructed trade officials to “consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate.”
Trump said he was still open to talks to achieve “free, fair, and reciprocal trade.”
China on Thursday formally launched a World Trade Organization challenge against Trump’s first round of proposed tariffs.
While the first list of Chinese imports to be targeted has not been finalized and the measures have not yet come into force, Beijing has wasted no time in responding.
It has unveiled plans for painful import duties targeting politically-sensitive US exports, including soybeans, aircraft and autos, to retaliate against the looming tariffs.
The prospect of a trade war has sent markets around the world on a rollercoaster ride, with traders seemingly unable to decide if the threat of a trade war is real or bluster.
As news of Trump’s latest threat percolated, stock futures trading pointed to the Dow Jones Industrial Average opening over 400 points down.