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Donald Trump raises stakes as US-China trade war begins

Donald Trump has threatened to impose tariffs
worth hundreds of billions of dollars on Chinese
imports to the US as a trade war between the
world's two largest economies began on Friday.

US tariffs on $34bn (£25.7bn) of Chinese goods
have come into effect.
China retaliated by imposing a similar 25% tariff
on 545 US products, also worth a total of
$34bn.
Mr Trump said the US might target Chinese
goods worth $500bn - the total value of Chinese
imports in 2017.
Beijing accused the US of starting the "largest
trade war in economic history" and has lodged a
case with the World Trade Organization (WTO).
"Trade war is never a solution," said Chinese
Premier Li Keqiang. "China would never start a
trade war but if any party resorts to an increase
of tariffs then China will take measures in
response to protect development interests."
The government-run English language China
Report said: "The Trump administration
is behaving like a gang of hoodlums with its
shakedown of other countries, particularly
China."
Conflict within the administration
By Tara McKelvey, BBC News White House
reporter
Behind the trade war, there's conflict within the
administration. Hardliners such as Peter
Navarro,
a trade policy adviser, says the US is defending
itself against an "aggressive" China. Meanwhile
some of the officials who had previously worked
for the Obama administration - known as
"holdovers" - are hoping to tamp down the US-
China conflict.
The tension between these factions is
occasionally on display in the West Wing. I've
seen two hardliners struggle over a podium,

vying for a chance to broadcast Mr Trump's
harsh message on economic issues, while the
holdovers sit quietly at the side of the room.
This reflects a larger division in the White
House:
Mr Trump and his closest aides are trying to
bring about radical change, while those who
support a more cautious approach find
themselves sitting in silence.
Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch
forecast only a modest escalation in the US-
China battle, adding: "However, we can't rule
out
a full-blown, recession-inducing 'trade war'."
Rob Carnell, chief Asia economist at ING, said:
"This is not economic Armageddon. We will not
have to hunt our food with pointy sticks.
"But it is applying the brakes to a global
economy that has less durable momentum than
appears to be the case."
China's decision to impose its own tariffs
means
US goods including cars, soya beans and
lobsters
are now subject to additional taxes.
BMW said it could not absorb all of the 25%
tariff on the cars it exports to China from a
plant
in Spartanburg, South Carolina and would have
to
raise prices.
The US tariffs are the result of Mr Trump's
attempt to protect US jobs and stop "unfair
transfers of American technology and
intellectual
property to China".
The White House said it would consult on tariffs
on another $16bn of products, which Mr Trump
has suggested could come into effect later this
month.
Mr Trump said: "You have another 16 [billion
dollars] in two weeks, and then, as you know,
we
have $200bn in abeyance and then after the
$200bn, we have $300bn in abeyance. OK? So
we have 50 plus 200 plus almost 300."
The imposition of the tariffs had little impact on
Asian stock markets. The Shanghai Composite
closed 0.5% higher, but ended the week 3.5%
lower - its seventh consecutive week of losses.
Tokyo closed 1.1% higher and European markets
were up more than 1% in morning trading before
turning negative on Friday afternoon.
Mr Trump has already imposed tariffs on
imported washing machines and solar panels,
and started charging levies on the imports of
steel and aluminium from the European Union,
Mexico and Canada.
The US tariffs imposed so far would affect the
equivalent of 0.6% of global trade and account
for 0.1% of global GDP, according to Morgan
Stanley.
Analysts are also concerned about the impact
on
others in the supply chain and about an
escalation of tensions between the US and
China
in general.

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