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Trade war

Trump threatens next wave of tariffs on $200bn of Chinese goods

Beijing has 'no choice' but to strike back if measures are imposed

U.S. President Donald Trump has accused China of being determined to "keep the United States at a permanent and unfair disadvantage."   © Reuters

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump has once again raised the stakes in his tariff war with Beijing, announcing on Monday that he had directed the U.S. Trade Representative to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese imports for an additional 10% tariff.

China has responded Tuesday by stating that it would have no choice but to impose retaliatory measures. The ever-expanding tariffs, if imposed as announced by the world's two most powerful economies, threaten to throttle global economic activity.

Washington's latest move is a reaction to China's intention to raise tariffs on $50 billion of U.S. exports, Trump said in a statement. The country is determined to "keep the United States at a permanent and unfair disadvantage," the president said.

The U.S. objects to the forced transfer of intellectual property and technology by its companies in China, as well as limited market access and a $376 billion trade deficit.

"After the legal process is complete, these tariffs will go into effect if China refuses to change its practices, and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced," Trump said.

Beijing itself was retaliating against a 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of China-made goods, approved by Trump on Friday.

On top of Monday's announcement, the president also flagged a further $200 billion worth of goods to be considered for higher duties if Beijing retaliates again.

Initially, Trump in early April directed the USTR to draw up additional tariffs on $100 billion of Chinese imports. The latest White House announcement, which doubles the amount, could be interpreted as a negotiating tactic to force concessions from Beijing in trade talks.

China's commerce ministry has reacted to the latest move, stating retaliatory measures would be implemented if Washington publishes an additional list of tariffs on Chinese goods.

Beijing "will have no choice but to take comprehensive measures combining quantitative and qualitative ones to resolutely strike back," read a statement released by the ministry on Tuesday.

"The trade war waged by the U.S. is against both the law of the market and the development trend of today's world. It undermines the interests of the Chinese and American people, the interests of companies and the interests of people all over the world," the statement said.

Tokyo stocks opened lower on Tuesday, as concerns over a full-blown U.S.-China trade war deepened. The Nikkei Stock Average closed the morning session at 22,482.89, down 197.44 points, or 0.87%, from the previous day's close.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks excluding Japan dropped nearly 1%, hitting the lowest point since February.

Sarah Hilton in Tokyo contributed to this report.

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