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Trump, China trade war: Trump ready to increase tariffs, hit iPhone

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Spencer/Getty; Win McNamee/Getty; Shayanne Gal/Business
Insider

  • President Donald Trump seemed ready to escalate the trade war
    with China in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on
    Monday.
  • Trump said it is “highly unlikely” that an upcoming meeting
    with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit will yield a
    deal to prevent a forthcoming increase in tariffs.
  • Trump also said he is prepared to hit another $267 billion
    worth of Chinese goods with tariffs — and he is not afraid to put
    tariffs on consumer goods like iPhones.

President Donald Trump is ready to escalate the trade
war with China
even further as a crucial meeting with 
Chinese President Xi Jinping nears.

In an interview
with The Wall Street Journal
on Monday, the president said it
is “highly unlikely” that the US and China reach a deal to
prevent the current
10% tariff
on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from
increasing to 25% on January 1.

In addition Trump told the Journal that if weekend talks with Xi
at the G20 summit in Argentina do not go well, more tariffs could
be on the way.

If we don’t make a deal, then I’m going to put the $267
billion additional on,” Trump said.

  • Trump first announced tariffs on Chinese goods in March,
    ostensibly to punish the country for the theft of US
    intellectual property.
  • After failed negotiations on a trade deal with China, the
    first round of tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods
    went into effect in July.
  • A second round of
    tariffs on another $200 billion of goods
    went into effect in late September,
    and

    Trump has repeatedly threatened
    to impose a third round on the remaining
    imports not subject to tariffs.
  • While Trump claims the third
    round would hit another $267 billion in goods, some reports peg
    the remaining amount around $257 billion.

After mostly avoiding consumer goods in the first two rounds of
tariffs, Trump said he is also willing place tariffs on items
such as Apple’s iPhone and laptops imported from China. The
administration backed off plans to impose tariffs on some Apple
products as part of the previous round after the tech giant
lobbied the president.

Economists warn that
tariffs on consumer goods
would drive up prices for
Americans, curtail consumer spending, and eventually hurt US
economic growth. Trump disagreed with that assessment, instead
suggesting that a low tariff rate on such goods would go
unnoticed by consumers.

I mean, I can make it 10%, and people could stand that
very easily,” he told the Journal.

In addition to the tariffs, the
Trump administration is employing a suite
of other measures
to crack down on China’s economic practices. For instance, the
Commerce Department is considering stricter rules on what types
of technology can be exported to China, and the Justice
Department has brought charges against Chinese companies and
individuals for economic espionage.

While there were
hopes that the Trump-Xi talks
could deescalate the trade
tensions, recent moves by the administration seem to point to a
sustained trade war.

Perhaps most significantly, US Trade Representative Robert
Lighthizer released an update to the investigation into Chinese
IP theft that kicked off the tariff battle last week. It found
China had not changed any of the practices that precipitated
Trump’s tariff decision.

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