Trump proposes $100 billion in new tariffs on Chinese goods


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump instructed the U.S. trade representative to consider slapping an additional $100 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods today in a dramatic escalation of the trade dispute between the two countries.

Trump's surprise move came a day after Beijing announced plans to tax $50 billion in American products, including soybeans and small aircraft, in response to a U.S. move this week to slap tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports.

And it intensified what was already shaping up to be the biggest trade battle since World War II. Global financial markets had fallen sharply as the world's two biggest economies squared off over Beijing's aggressive trade tactics. But they had calmed down Wednesday and Thursday on hopes the U.S. and China would find a diplomatic solution.

Instead, the White House announced after the markets closed Thursday that Trump had instructed the Office of the United States Trade Representative to consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate and, if so, to identify which products they should apply to. He's also instructed his secretary of agriculture "to implement a plan to protect our farmers and agricultural interests."

"China's illicit trade practices – ignored for years by Washington – have destroyed thousands of American factories and millions of American jobs," Trump said in a statement announcing the decision.

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