President Donald Trump said on Thursday the United States may ultimately impose tariffs on more than a half-trillion dollars’ worth of Chinese goods as the world’s two largest economies hurtled toward the start of a trade war.
Trump confirmed that the United States would begin collecting tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods at 12:01 a.m. Washington D.C. time (0401 GMT) on Friday and warned that subsequent rounds could see tariffs on more than $500 billion of goods, or roughly the total amount that the United States imported from China last year.
“You have another 16 (billion dollars) in two weeks, and then, as you know, we have $200 billion in abeyance and then after the $200 billion, we have $300 billion in abeyance. Ok? So we have 50 plus 200 plus almost 300,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One.
Trump’s comments appeared to increase the stakes for potential retaliation by China. Previously, Trump had threatened up to impose additional tariffs on goods worth $400 billion should China follow through on its plans to retaliate against the initial U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods including autos, computer disk drives, pump and valve parts and light-emitting diodes.
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