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Trade War

Trump looks to expand tariffs to all Chinese goods

Ahead of Xi summit, US leader signals rate hike on existing $200bn to 25%

U.S. President Donald Trump said he is ready to move ahead with the next round of tariffs on Chinese imports, slapping levies on all goods from that country.   © Reuters

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. plans to impose punitive tariffs on all goods imports from China if the upcoming summit meeting does not go well, President Donald Trump said on Monday.

"If we don't make a deal, then I'm going to put" the $267 billion in additional tariffs on "at an interest rate between 10 and 25 depending," Trump said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. The Trump administration has so far imposed such tariffs on $250 billion in goods from China. The U.S. imported about $510 billion in goods from China last year.

The remark is seen as putting pressure on Beijing to make more concessions just days before the summit.

Trump is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Group of 20 gathering, which starts on Friday.

"I can make it 10%, and people could stand that very easily," he told the Journal, suggesting that he could set the new round of tariffs at that level. Until now, he had said the level would be 25%. Once tariffs are slapped on all imports from China, they would affect such items as the Apple iPhone and laptop computers, strengthening the impact on consumers.

In the latest round at the end of September, the U.S. placed a 10% tariff on $200 billion in Chinese products. The rate is expected to increase to 25% at the start of the new year. China has requested that this be postponed, but Trump says he is "highly unlikely" to accept that.

Ahead of meeting with Xi in Argentina, Trump has repeatedly said that a deal with China is possible. At the same time, he has touched on the possibility of additional tariffs on almost all occasions, mixing carrots and sticks in trying to make Beijing yield.

The Trump administration has demanded that China address its trade imbalance with the U.S. as well as its intellectual property infringement and review its "Made in China 2025" Initiative. All eyes will be on whether the two leaders can come to an agreement that will stop the trade war from intensifying.

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