President Donald Trump threatened to sharply escalate a trade conflict with China, asking his administration to identify $200 billion in imported goods from China to be penalized with tariffs.
Trump’s move comes after Beijing announced it would retaliate in kind to planned U.S. tariffs on $50 billion in imports from China. The U.S. president’s latest plans, if carried out, would likely plunge the world’s two biggest economies into a trade war.
“Unfortunately, China has determined that it will raise tariffs on $50 billion worth of United States exports,” Trump said in a statement Monday evening, directing U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer to identify $200 billion more in products for tariffs of 10%. Should China retaliate to those additional tariffs, Trump promised to escalate even further by placing tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese goods.
“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,” Trump said in the statement.
The president boasted Monday of his “excellent relationship” with Chinese President Xi Jinping and said the two would continue working together on many issues. “But the United States will no longer be taken advantage of on trade by China and other countries in the world,” he said.