US companies urge Trump to find solution to end trade war

Trump defends his China strategy, Beijing says ‘not afraid’ of trade war

Trump talks trade with Apple CEO Cook as China dispute looms

More than six-hundred companies and trade groups, including Walmart, Costco and Target, wrote to the White House on Thursday urging Trump to remove the levies on Beijing.

Retailers, manufacturers and designers as well as tech companies and industry organizations represented the majority of the signatures in the letter.

Though many retailers are putting on a courageous face, many have said in recent weeks and months that the new tariffs would force them to raise prices, resulting in higher costs paid by United States consumers for the same items.

Trump has said he would decide after G20, the meeting of the leaders of the world's largest economies, whether to carry out a threat to impose tariffs on an additional $300 billion in Chinese goods.

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California, U.S. June 3, 2019. Broad tariffs are ineffective, the letter said, and "we know firsthand that the additional tariffs will have a significant, negative and long-term impact on American businesses, farmers, families and the USA economy".

But under President Trump the lines that separated trade policy from diplomacy and national security issues seem to have disappeared, with the White House operating under the assumption it can use tariffs as a tool to achieve nearly any worldwide goal, while at the same time justifying its aggressive trade policies, like the decision to block China's Huawei from buying U.S. products, on the basis of national security considerations.

USA authorities are also preparing to probe the market power of large technology companies, according to sources.

But it is significant as US-China trade tensions escalate and comes before a possible meeting between Mr Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the June 28-29 Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

Puma North America, fashion designer Alexander Wang, department store chain Kohl's and athletic shoe retailer Foot Locker were also among the companies signing on behalf of their employees.

"We remain concerned about the escalation of tit-for-tat tariffs", the firms were quoted as saying in a joint letter on Thursday. The U.S. and China have had no trade talks since early May.

Trump reportedly spoke with Cook about "trade, USA investment, immigration and privacy", White House spokesman Judd Deere said. As they see it, employing the full force of America's economic might, even if that interferes with the goal of maintaining an open global trade system, is a legitimate way of protecting U.S. national interests.

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