Trump preps China tariff target list, Beijing ready to retaliate

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump has approved tariffs on Chinese goods worth about USD$50 billion (RM199 billion), said a person familiar with the decision, ratcheting up a confrontation on trade that's set to prompt retaliation from Beijing. "Bloomberg Economics' immediate assessment is that this would be a drag for both countries, but - absent an outsize impact on confidence - one that would be hard to discern in the aggregate growth or inflation numbers".

But his plan to crack down on China has drawn wider support.

Washington has also completed a second list of possible tariffs on another US$100 billion in Chinese goods, in the expectation that China will respond to the initial USA tariff list in kind, sources told Reuters.

Trump has already slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, all of which have threatened to retaliate in kind.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Friday morning that his country would "respond quickly" to any moves by the US.

In the trade fight, Bannon said, Trump has converted three major tools that "the American elites considered off the table" - namely, the use of tariffs, the technology investigation of China and penalties on Chinese telecom giant ZTE.

President Donald Trump speaks during a graduation and commissioning ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy on May 25, 2018, in Annapolis, Maryland.

The president said that the United States will pursue additional tariffs if China retaliates "such as imposing new tariffs on United States goods, services or agricultural products; raising non-tariff barriers; or taking punitive actions against American exporters or American companies operating in China".

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"US-China trade tensions will be long-lasting", said Yifan Hu, regional chief investment officer and chief China economist at UBS Wealth Management told a briefing in Beijing.

'Those are all historic ingredients for an economic slowdown'.

"If you end up with a tariff battle, you will end up with price inflation, and you could end up with consumer debt. His fundamental commitment to the "deplorables" on the campaign trail was that he was going to bring manufacturing jobs back, particularly from Asia".

Lu Xiang, a U.S. specialist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the world was facing the most uncertain economic times since the cold war.

The Trump administration is preparing to release a refined list of Chinese products to be hit with tariffs that hones in on technologies where China wants to establish itself as a leader, according to five people familiar with the matter.

Press officials at the U.S. Commerce Department and U.S. Trade Representative's office declined to comment on the tariff list plans.

"Moving forward with tariffs on goods imported from China will harm USA consumers and businesses, and will fail to change China's discriminatory and damaging trade practices", Dean Garfield, CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), said in a statement last month. The White House said last month the final list would be unveiled on June 15, with the duties to be imposed "shortly thereafter". China has targeted $50 billion in USA products for potential retaliation.

China specifically stated that it will impose a 25% tariff on imports of USA soybeans, a tax that could be devastating to growers of the number one US agricultural export, with sales to China past year totaling $14 billion, if the USA imposes tariffs.

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