US President Donald Trump gives remarks after receiving a helmet from French race car driver and Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 10, 2019.
AFP/Jim Watson
Trump delivers hard line on new China tariffs threat
Sebastian Smith (Agence France-Presse) - June 11, 2019 - 9:06am

WASHINGTON, United States — President Donald Trump warned Monday he will slap huge new tariffs on China if his counterpart Xi Jinping doesn't show up for a planned face-to-face meeting later this month and insisted the Chinese economy will never overtake the United States.

Trump delivered his hardline message ahead of the G20 summit on June 28-29 in Osaka, Japan, which could mark a turning point in the trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies.

Asked if a failure by Xi to come to the summit would lead to tariffs kicking in on a further $300 billion in Chinese imports, Trump told CNBC television: "Yes it would."

Trump said the meeting was "scheduled" and that he expects Xi to attend.

"I would be surprised if he didn't go," Trump said. "I think he's going, I haven't heard that he's not."

However, as US-Chinese tensions mount, a spokesman for Xi's government said last month that he had "no information at present" on Trump-Xi talks.

Trump has been trying to strongarm China into fundamental change on trade policies that the president argues have for decades put the United States at an unfair disadvantage.

The two sides seemed to be close to striking a bargain until talks stalled last month. Washington says that Beijing walked away at the last minute, while the Chinese side has signaled it is prepared for a long fight against unreasonable demands.

Trump has already imposed 25 percent duties on $200 billion of Chinese imports. China has responded with punitive tariffs on $60 billion in US goods.

Last month he threatened to slap tariffs on a further $300 billion of goods -- virtually everything American companies import from China -- if no breakthrough is achieved.

The US Trade Representative office has launched the process to impose the huge new duties, with a hearing scheduled for June 17 -- but Trump has said he has yet to decide whether he will ultimately impose the levies.

'They'll never catch us'

Trump has made tariffs a pillar of his foreign policy, arguing that US economic power puts him in a win-win situation when he threatens rivals like China and even close allies, such as Canada, the European Union and Mexico.

The United States says that China cheats in bilateral trade by forcing US importers to give up intellectual property, subsidizing its own companies, and running a huge trade surplus with Washington.

Trump told CNBC that by ratcheting up tariffs, he can ultimately force manufacturers to leave China.

"Those companies are going to move into other locations and there won't be a tariff," he said.

In a game of tit-for-tat, Trump added, China will lose simply because they have far fewer US imports they can target. "We have the big, big advantage," he said.

"China's going to make a deal because they're going to have to make a deal."

Trump's tariff rattling has spooked global markets and also run into pushback from many in Congress.

But in his lengthy CNBC interview, Trump said he is doing what previous presidents avoided because they "either didn't understand it or they were bored by it or they weren't smart enough."

His overall aim, the Republican said, is to ensure that China never overtakes the United States as the world's top economy. 

"Had a Democrat gotten in..., China would have caught us," he said. Now "they'll never catch us."

CHINA DONALD TRUMP UNITED STATES US TRADE WAR WITH CHINA XI JINPING
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 9, 2019 - 9:51am

US President Donald Trump says North American neighbors Canada and Mexico will get no relief from his new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports unless a "new and fair" free trade agreement is signed.

The Trump administration says the tariffs are necessary to preserve the American industries—and that doing so is a national security imperative. But Trump's latest tweets suggest he's also using the upcoming tariffs as leverage in ongoing talks to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement. The latest round of a nearly year-long renegotiation effort is concluding this week in Mexico City. — Associated Press

November 9, 2019 - 9:51am

President Donald Trump says he has not agreed to roll back tariffs on Chinese imports, dampening recent optimism for a major de-escalation in the US-China trade war.

Amid a steady stream of conflicting reports, Trump's remarks appear to push back against Beijing's claims that the two sides had agreed to remove tariffs in stages as part of a partial deal announced last month.

Hopes for progress in defusing trade tensions have driven global stocks higher this month, since an agreement would remove a major source of uncertainty in the world economy that is undercutting growth. — AFP

November 5, 2019 - 5:45pm

President Xi Jinping pledges to further open China's economy, declaring the world must "knock down walls" as he opened an annual trade fair against the backdrop of the US tariffs war.

Xi addresses an audience including French President Emmanuel Macron at the import exhibition in Shanghai, staged annually by China to show its willingness to open up its vast domestic markets in the face of criticism that they remain too closed.

The world community must "continue to knock down walls instead of building walls, resolutely oppose protectionism and unilateralism, (and) continuously reduce trade barriers", Xi says.

November 3, 2019 - 4:22pm

Chinese phone giant Huawei says it was ready to roll out 5G infrastructure across Southeast Asia, dismissing US warnings its tech could be used to hoover up data for Beijing.

The firm has emerged as a key protagonist in the wider US-China trade war that has seen tit-for-tat tariffs imposed on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods.

President Donald Trump's administration has warned Huawei's equipment could allow China to spy on other countries and has effectively blocked American companies from selling US technology to the firm. — AFP

October 31, 2019 - 10:20pm

President Donald Trump said Thursday that an alternative location for his signing of a US-China trade deal with President Xi Jinping will be "announced soon," following cancellation of an APEC summit in Chile.

The partial trade deal, known as phase one, had been due for signing on the sidelines of the regional APEC summit which Chile cancelled on Wednesday due to violent unrest in the capital Santiago.

"China and the USA are working on selecting a new site for signing," Trump tweeted. "The new location will be announced soon. President Xi and President Trump will do signing!" -- Agence France-Presse

October 19, 2019 - 12:00pm

Washington calls for action from other major world powers to spur economic growth, avoiding mention of the US-China trade war and blaming the current global slowdown on excess savings, flagging investment in China and Europe in particular.

In a statement at the conclusion of annual meetings by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the US economy stands out on the world stage and is primed for faster growth thanks to the tax cuts and regulatory reforms championed by President Donald Trump.

Mnuchin's remarks ran counter to urgent warnings this week from the IMF, which said the US-China trade war would shave 0.8 percent from the world economy next year alone and was eating into business investment in the United States. — AFP

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