Trump threatens to impose tariffs on all imports from China

The Trump administration may be about to slap tariffs of up to 25 per cent on an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods, escalating a confrontation between the world's two biggest economies and likely squeezing USA companies that import everything from handbags to bicycle tires.

Trump tells reporters on Air Force One that his plans to slaps taxes of up to 25 percent on Chinese imports would depend on the choices made by that country's leaders. US officials say that violates China's free-trade commitments and worry it might erode American industrial leadership.

The $200 billion list, which includes some consumer products such as cameras and recording devices, luggage, handbags, tires and vacuum cleaners, would be subject to tariffs of 10 percent to 25 percent.

China so far has retaliated dollar-for-dollar with tariffs of its own on USA goods but since it imports less than $200 billion in goods a year from the United States, it has run out of room to match the punitive measures.

The administration has already imposed tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese products, and Beijing has punched back with tariffs on $50 billion in American goods.

Apple Inc. noted in a letter that the government's proposed tariffs on $200 billion cover a wide range of products used in its United States operations, including the Apple Watch. That would basically cover all the imports from China that aren't already covered.

While the White House says they are still deliberating on the details of adding US$200 billion in Chinese imports to a list of tariff targets, President Trump said Friday that there is more where that came from.

The U.S. Trade Representative's office received almost 6,000 comments and held seven days of public hearings on the proposed levies.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the press aboard Air Force One on September 7, 2018.

Companies such as Cisco and Hewlett-Packard say tariffs on Chinese networking equipment will ultimately make it more expensive for American consumers to access the Internet.

White House Economic advisor Larry Kudlow told CNBC that talks between the US and China were ongoing.

In a letter to U.S. officials as part of the public consultation on the measures, the company said some of Apple's Beats headphones and its new HomePod smart speaker would also face levies.

Specifically, Kudlow said, the United States was seeking "zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, zero subsidies, stop the IP theft, stop the technology transfer, allow Americans to own their own companies".

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