What you need to know about Trump's new trade threat

Markets drop over trade war fears

It was retaliation, he said, for China's decision to raise tariffs on US$50 billion in United States goods, which came after Mr Trump announced similar tariffs on Chinese goods last Friday.

China's commerce ministry warned on Tuesday that Beijing would fight back firmly with "qualitative" and "quantitative" measures if the United States implements more tariffs. "This latest action by China clearly indicates its determination to keep the United States at a permanent and unfair disadvantage, which is reflected in our massive $376 billion trade imbalance in goods", the president said in a statement released around 7:30 p.m.

Trade brinkmanship between Washington and Beijing continued late Monday when President Donald Trump threatened to put fresh duties on between $200 billion and $400 billion in Chinese imports.

In addition to the second set of tariffs, Trump also threatened to hit China with a third wave - an additional 10% on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods - if the Beijing rolled out their own wave of tariffs. Oxford Economics estimates that if Trump imposed the $200 billion in duties and China responded in kind, USA growth could slow by 0.3 percentage point next year.

China was responding after the USA kicked off what has become a round of tit-for-tat tariffs that is threatening to develop into a trade war between the world's two biggest economies.

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The tit-for-tat moves could start to meaningfully slow USA growth, economists warn. That means consumers would have to pay more for a wide range of goods, economists say.

Time is running out for Beijing to fulfil its reform promises if it hopes to maintain stable growth, a top European business lobby said on Wednesday, contending that the roots of U.S.

Wall Street has viewed the escalating trade tensions with wariness, fearful they could strangle the economic growth achieved during Trump's watch.

Trump accused Canadians of crossing the border with the U.S.to buy products and "smuggle" them back into their country because their tariffs are so high.

This afternoon, White House trade advisor Peter Navarro said that he is not aware of any exemption for the iPhone that has come up in trade talks with China. All told, Trump is now threatening to penalize up to $450 billion of Chinese goods - a value representing about 90 per cent of Chinese imports previous year. "China has, for example, always been engaging in several unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology", Trump declared last week.

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According to the New York Times article, Trump promised Cook that he wouldn't place tariffs on iPhone assembled in China.

"This is unacceptable", Mr. Trump said.

Commodities also sold off on trade concerns.

"If they thought that they could buy us off cheap with a few extra products sold and allow them to continue to steal our intellectual property and crown jewels, that was a miscalculation", Navarro said, referring to now-abandoned talks in which Beijing had offered to purchase more USA products.

He said China's recent claims of "openness and globalisation" are "a joke".

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Clayton Allen of Height Capital Markets said in a report Trump's "provocative" moves were aimed at winning quick Chinese concessions.

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