Trump wants $200 billion in China tariffs despite talks, sources say

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So far, the United States and China have hit US$50 billion worth of each other's goods with tariffs in a dispute over USA demands that China make sweeping economic policy changes, including ending joint venture and technology transfer policies, rolling back industrial subsidy programs and better protecting American intellectual property.

He also made it clear he was ready to impose tariffs worth $200 billion on goods "very soon" if President Xin Jinping's government refused to back down.

The United States bought $505 billion in goods from China a year ago, and Trump has already moved to impose tariffs on $50 billion of those goods as a way to try to force concessions from the Chinese government. "If nearly a half of American companies anticipate a strong negative impact from the next round of USA tariffs, then the US administration will be hurting the companies it should be helping".

The decision also comes despite a Treasury invitation earlier this week to senior Chinese officials, including Vice Premier Liu He, for more talks to try to resolve trade differences between the world's two largest economies.

A day earlier, more than 60 United States industry groups launched a coalition - Americans for Free Trade - to take the fight against the tariffs public.

"It is hard to see how tariffs that hurt USA companies and US consumers will advance the Government's objectives with respect to China's technology policies", Apple said in its letter.

But analysts say the newest series of tariffs would be a particularly deep cut for both economies, and would likely come ahead of November midterm elections, with recent polls showing Trump and the Republican Party may be vulnerable in the House of Representatives.

"We share the concerns of the United States regarding China's trade and investment practices, but continuing along the path of tariff escalation is extremely risky", warned Harborn.

Zoom out from the automotive sector, and more than 60% of American companies in China said they have been affected by the tit-for-tat spat.

In response, China has vowed to retaliate with tariffs on another $60 billion of United States exports, including meat, coffee, furniture and auto parts. More than half of U.S. firms are already feeling Beijing's wrath from non-tariff measures like heightened regulatory scrutiny, more inspections and slower customs clearance, according to the survey. "China trade relations, address long-standing inequities and level the playing field", Zheng said in a statement.

Businesses received potentially good news on Wednesday after US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin proposed a fresh round of trade talks between the economic superpowers to avert a full-blown trade war. The Chinese government has dismissed the complaints as "groundless".

Trump frequently criticised "unfair trade" between the USA and China while on the campaign trail for the 2016 presidential elections.

The White House believes China will wave the white flag after the next round of tariffs on $200 billion in goods, said William Zarit, the chamber's chairman.