WASHINGTON – China is threatening to retaliate after President Trump just said he would impose new tariffs on their imports. It's the latest exchange in the trade battles between the two largest economies in the world.
Experts say more tariffs on Chinese goods means Americans could pay more for a variety of products from toys to smartphones, but President Trump says it's time once and for all to stop the Chinese theft of American jobs.
"We've taken the toughest-ever action to stand up to China's trade abuse," the president told supporters at a rally in Cincinnati Thursday evening.
Starting September first, he's putting 10 percent tariffs on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese imports he hasn't taxed already.
"For many years China has been taking out hundreds of billions a year and rebuilding China. It's time we rebuild our country," the president said.
For its part, China is threatening "necessary countermeasures." Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Friday, "Imposing tariffs is definitely not the right way to resolve trade frictions."
However, President Trump says China isn't acting fast enough as the world's largest economies work to reach a trade deal. He accuses Beijing of failing to stop the sale of fentanyl to the US and not following through on promises to buy large amounts of American soybeans.
The new tariffs are on top of an existing 25 percent tax on $250 billion in Chinese goods. China retaliated to that move by taxing $110 billion in US goods dealing a blow to US farmers.
However, this new round of tariffs will affect a range of consumer products from clothing to electronics.
"The goods that are now going to be targeted are ones that would affect ordinary consumers," says Seth Sutel, business writer for the Associated Press.
The president suspects Chinese negotiators are trying to wait out his term in the White House.
"Oh they're praying, they're praying," he told supporters at his rally Thursday. "They would like to see a new president in a year and a half so they could continue to rip off the United States."
In Congress, he has some support from both parties.
"I think President Trump was onto something when he talked about China. China has been abusing the economic system for a long time," says Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) at the Democratic presidential debate this week.
And while she disagrees with the president's tactics, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) tweeted. "We absolutely must be tough on China..."
We absolutely must be tough on China, but this haphazard approach of tariff by tweet is hurting American farmers and consumers. There's no coherent plan beyond more and more escalation. https://t.co/nfjdWBkXqk
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) August 2, 2019
By setting this latest round of tariffs at 10 percent, the president is leaving himself room to ratchet them up higher if necessary to put more pressure on China.