Trump Slaps New Tariffs on Chinese Products

President Donald Trump pauses during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington with members of congress to discuss school and community safety. A White House official says President Donald Trump plans

Donald Trump Warns Countries with Unfair Trade Prepare to Be ‘Tariffed’ AP

"If the United States launches any new tariff measures, China will have to take countermeasures to firmly ensure our legitimate rights and interests", foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters during a regular press briefing on Monday.

"The US insists on increasing tariffs, which brings new uncertainty to the consultations between the two sides", the ministry said.

President Donald Trump has been upset at the size of the USA trade deficit with China and has instigated a trade war with the country in an attempt to lower the gap between the value of Chinese imports of us goods and us imports of Chinese goods.

Trump kicked off his trade war with China in March, imposing higher tariffs after an investigation by Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer had found that China used foreign ownership restrictions to require tech transfers from U.S. to Chinese companies, as well as conducting espionage to acquire intellectual property.

The United States will spare Apple's Watch and other consumer gadgets from the latest round of tariffs on Chinese goods, a senior administration official has said in a last-minute reprieve for the technology industry. "But, so far, China has been unwilling to change its practices", including theft and force transfer of technology.

The new tariffs will take effect from September 24, Trump said in a statement on Monday.

The tariffs will rise to 25 percent on January 1 of next year.

While there are measures China can take to retaliate, it is limited by the imbalance between its exports to the United States and its imports from the U.S., which amount to only about $US130 billion a year.

In a victory for Apple and its USA customers, smart watches and some other consumer electronics products were removed from the latest list.

The brief statement gave no details on China's plans, but Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing later that the US steps had brought "new uncertainty" to talks between the two countries.

The lower tariff rate could soften the blow ahead of key U.S. congressional elections in November.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been lobbying administration officials to avoid imposing tariffs. He demanded Canada and Mexico renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement to make it more favourable to the United States.

But current US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will now be in charge of enforcing the Trump administration's new tariffs. "Start building new plants now", he tweeted on Sept 8.

Chief executive Fred Smith told analysts on Monday that the US-China trade spat "is worrisome to everyone".

He didn't answer directly when asked whether Beijing would back out if U.S. President Donald Trump goes ahead with a proposed tariff hike on $200 billion of Chinese goods.

US President Donald Trump on Monday hailed his aggressive use of tariffs as a success for American business, amidst reports he plans to drastically ratchet up the battle with Beijing imminently.

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