Trump orders USTR to start process of taxing all imports from China

President Donald Trump's latest tariff hikes on Chinese goods took effect Friday

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin shook hands with Liu as he left.

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump on Friday ordered the USA trade representative to start the process of raising tariffs on all remaining imports from China, the USTR said in a statement. China said it was forced to retaliate against the United States pressure.

The latest round of trade talks between China and the USA have ended without a deal as President Donald Trump raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports and signaled that he was prepared for a prolonged economic fight. "The Chinese side deeply regrets that if the USA tariff measures are implemented, China will have to take necessary countermeasures".

A group photo of the Chinese and USA trade negotiators at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, February 15, 2019.

"On the issue of purchases, the state leaders of China and the US reached a consensus during their meeting in Argentina and had a preliminary agreement on the numbers", Liu said. So he has ginned up this gem of an idea: Use the tax revenue Americans pay in new tariffs to buy food from USA farmers that the Chinese would have purchased, but no longer do.

"We are now at a very delicate place, where further negotiations have become significantly more hard... the risk of a further escalation also increased", Song Guoyou, director of Fudan University's Center for Economic Diplomacy, told the Global Times on Friday. "For China, we think this is a very serious issue and can not compromise on it easily".

He added that talks would continue in Beijing, but gave no details. US President Donald Trump also ordered tariffs to be raised on all remaining US imports from China, which are valued at around $300 billion.

Hours earlier, the Trump administration hiked tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 per cent from 10 per cent, escalating tensions between Beijing and Washington.

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The latest round of trade talks has once again demonstrated China's maximum sincerity.

Liu, China's top economic official, said the country's economy was improving after bottoming out at the end of previous year. That represents a grace period during which USA and Chinese negotiators could still reach a deal.

He said the disagreements were over matters of principle.

"Any country needs its own dignity, so the text must be balanced", Liu said.

Liu denied the accusations of China's reneging on promises, saying China thought it was normal to make changes before a final deal.

It is a test of wisdom for both sides as whether they could accommodate each others' core concerns and bring the trade talks back on the right track to solve problems while upholding their respective principles and bottom lines.

"We don't believe China has backtracked", he said, adding there were just differences on how to phrase the text of the agreement. The transcript of Liu's speech was published by major Chinese media outlets on Saturday.

"NO ONE WINS A TRADE WAR", trade analyst Chad Bown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics said on Twitter. "I think such a move does no good to China, the United States or the world and it is not conducive to resolving bilateral economic and trade issues", he said.

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