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'Better off without them': Trump issues 'order' for US companies to pull out of China

Trump’s series of angry tweets came after China announced a new set of tariffs to the tune of $75 billion.

china-us-trade Trump meeting his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping last June Source: Susan Walsh/PA Images

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has lashed out at Beijing and vowed a quick response to China’s plans for new tariffs, while ordering American companies to leave the country.

A blistering series of tweets called into doubt chances for a quick resolution to the escalating trade war between the world’s economic superpowers, which by the end of the year will cover nearly all imports and exports exchanged between the two countries.

“We don’t need China and, frankly, would be far… better off without them”, Trump said.

The trade friction already has slowed US growth, and undercut the global economy, so the threat of a deterioration sent stock markets falling sharply. The Dow lost more than 500 points from its peak, while London’s FTSE and the German DAX have also lost ground.

“Our Country has lost, stupidly, Trillions of Dollars with China over many years. They have stolen our Intellectual Property at a rate of Hundreds of Billions of Dollars a year, & they want to continue. I won’t let that happen!,” Trump wrote.

Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing… your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.

It is unclear under what authority Trump could demand private companies alter their production.

The outburst came after China announced today it will hit US soybeans, lobsters, peanut butter and other imports worth $75 billion (€67 billion) with new tariffs in retaliation for Washington latest round of punitive duties due to take effect in two rounds, 1 September and 15 December.

“I will be responding to China’s Tariffs this afternoon. This is a GREAT opportunity for the United States,” he tweeted.

The promised response – which came in another tweetstorm – said existing 25% tariffs on $250 billion (€224 billion) in Chinese goods will increase to 30% starting October 1.

And tariffs on $300 billion (€266.94 billion) in products, due to take effect 1 September at 10%, will now be set at 15%, he said.

China’s retaliation

China’s punitive tariffs of 5% to 10% will apply to 5,078 US items, China’s state council tariff office said.

Beijing also announced it will reimpose a 25% tariff on US autos and a 5% tariff on auto parts, also starting 15 December. China had lifted those tariffs earlier this year as a goodwill measure while trade talks were underway.

Trump already imposed steep tariffs on $250 billion (€224 billion) in Chinese goods, with a further $300 billion in imports targeted in the coming rounds.

Meanwhile China has hit back with duties on around $110 billion (€98 billion) of US goods – or nearly all of the $120 billion (€107 billion) worth of American goods it imported last year.

Some of those goods will now have their tariff rates raised even further.

China’s commerce ministry said it will hit American frozen lobster, frozen chicken feet, peanut butter and 914 other goods with new 10 percent punitive tariffs starting September 1.

Soybeans, crude oil and other energy goods face 5% tariffs.

The US actions “have led to the continuous escalation of China-US economic and trade frictions, violating the consensus reached by the two heads of state in Argentina and the consensus reached in Osaka,” China’s State Council Tariff Commission Office said in a statement.

“China’s adoption of punitive tariff measures is forced under the pressure of US unilateralism and trade protectionism,” the office said.

US-made mango juice, electric buses and chemical products face 10 percent duties come mid-December while smaller aircraft, hand pumps and bearings will be hit with 5 percent taxes.

- © AFP 2019

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