White House says Trump's resolve is firm on China trade

China threatens tariffs on $60 billion in US goods

The Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement it could add duties of 5, 10, 20 or 25 percent on 5,207 types of US imports, while warning it could adopt further countermeasures at any time.

Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Friday ridiculed China's threat of US$60 billion of retaliatory tariffs as "weak" and said the world's second-largest economy was in significant "trouble".

The United States reached a surprise deal on trade last week under which Washington agreed not to put any new tariffs on imports from the European Union, forestalling a possible 25 percent levy on auto imports the Trump administration has been considering. "I noticed today that Japan's stock market is now worth more than China's - I love that", he told journalists at the White House.

China is threatening to impose the tariffs on a wide range of products, including chemicals, plastics and leather goods, according to business groups representing those industries.

The Chinese finance ministry said 5,207 goods imported from the United States could be subjected to the fresh tariffs, with levies ranging from 5% to 25% on products including aircraft, soya bean oil, smoked beef, coffee and flour.

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"Instead of retaliating, China should address the long-standing concerns about its unfair trading practices", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in an emailed statement.

The escalating dispute, with no settlement in sight, has fueled fears it might chill global trade and economic growth.

"Any unilateral threat or blackmail will only lead to intensi-fication of conflicts and damage to the interests of all parties", said the statement.

Today's threat targeting a smaller amount of USA goods reflects the fact that Beijing is running out of products for retaliation due to its lopsided trade balance with the United States.

These new tariffs would affect about 38% of all American exports to China, which are worth about $170 billion in total.

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Mr Trump is aiming to reduce his country's $375.6 billion trade deficit in goods - the gap between imports and exports - with China.

Washington has vowed to take punitive measures to stop Beijing's Made in China 2025 industrial policy supporting domestic companies developing strategic advanced technologies, including robotics and artificial intelligence.

The Trump administration slapped duties on $34 billion of Chinese goods last month, a move that also prompted immediate retaliation from China.

"I told you, some people say, there has been more than 30 phone calls between Trump and Xi". China can not match that dollar for dollar, but it vowed to fight back using "qualitative and quantitative" measures.

"The Chinese are also coping by lowering the rate of the yuan, while the U.S. can look towards countries in Southeast Asia as replacements for its imports, so it's not a big issue".

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