US President Donald Trump has lashed back at a new round of Chinese tariffs by heaping an additional 5 per cent duty on some $US550 billion ($A813 billion) in targeted Chinese goods in the latest tit-for-tat trade war escalation by the world’s two largest economies.
Trump’s move, announced on Twitter, came hours after China unveiled retaliatory tariffs on $US75 billion ($A111 billion) worth of US goods, prompting the president earlier in the day to demand US companies move their operations out of China.
The intensifying US-China trade war stoked market fears that the global economy will tip into recession, sending US stocks into a tailspin, with the Nasdaq Composite down 3 per cent, and the S&P 500 down 2.6 per cent.
US Treasury yields also fell as investors sought safe-haven assets, and crude oil, targeted for the first time by Chinese tariffs, fell sharply.
Trump’s tariff response was announced after markets closed on Friday, leaving potentially more damage for next week.
“Sadly, past Administrations have allowed China to get so far ahead of Fair and Balanced Trade that it has become a great burden to the American Taxpayer,” Trump said on Twitter. “As President, I can no longer allow this to happen!”
He said the United States would raise its existing tariffs on $US250 billion ($A370 billion) worth of Chinese imports to 30 per cent from the current 25 per cent beginning on Oct. 1, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the communist People’s Republic of China.
At the same time, Trump announced an increase in planned tariffs on the remaining $300 billion worth of Chinese goods to 15 per cent from 10 per cent. The United States will begin imposing those tariffs on some products starting Sept. 1, but tariffs on about half of those goods have been delayed until Dec. 15.
The US Trade Representative’s office confirmed the effective dates, but said it would conduct a public comment period before imposing the 30 per cent tariff rate on Oct. 1.
US business groups reacted angrily to the new tariff hike.
“It’s impossible for businesses to plan for the future in this type of environment. The administration’s approach clearly isn’t working, and the answer isn’t more taxes on American businesses and consumers. Where does this end?” said David French, a senior vice president for the National Retail Federation.
Trump is due to meet leaders of the G7 major economies at a summit this weekend in France, where trade tensions will be among the hottest discussion topics.