Trump Raises Proposed Chinese Tariffs to 25%

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Weeks after the White House said it wanted to slap 10% tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, President Donald Trump's advisors are reportedly urging him to make it 25% instead.

Trump said last month that he's willing to impose tariffs on every good imported from China, which totaled more than US$500 billion past year.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Wednesday local time that the increase in duties was ordered by President Trump and could be implemented as early as next month.

While the tariffs would not be imposed until after a period of public comment, raising the proposed level to 25 per cent could escalate the trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies.

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The outlines of the deal are still sketchy, but they call for the Europeans to buy more American petroleum, soybeans and manufactured goods and for Trump to reduce his vehicle and steel tariffs.

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The higher tariffs, which would apply to some $200 billion in Chinese imports identified by the administration last month, represent an effort to get Beijing to address longstanding unfair trade practices, official say.

China has already warned it would retaliate if the United States went ahead with the plan, accusing Washington of blackmail. "Regrettably, instead of changing its harmful behavior, China has illegally retaliated against USA workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses". The tariffs target a range of Chinese imports like dog food, furniture, auto tires, beauty products, and food products, in addition to steel and aluminum.

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Investors fear an escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing could hit global growth, and prominent US business groups have condemned Trump's aggressive tariffs. The plan to more than double the tariff rate was first reported by Bloomberg News.

In early July, the United States government imposed 25 per cent tariffs on an initial $34 billion of Chinese imports.

The move signalled displeasure among Mr Trump's own party over his protectionist actions, but chances of it becoming law were slim as Congress would likely need to override a presidential veto by Mr Trump.

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