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President Trump on Thursday threatened to impose additional tariffs on “at least” $300 billion in Chinese goods if Beijing refuses to acquiesce to his demands.
“Our talks with China, a lot of interesting things are happening. We’ll see what happens. . . . I could go up another at least $300 billion and I’ll do that at the right time,” Trump told reporters before boarding a plane to France for the D-Day commemoration. “But I think China wants to make a deal and I think Mexico wants to make a deal badly.”
Tensions between Washington and Beijing have continued to escalate since May, when Trump raised tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25 percent after face-to-face negotiations broke down.
In response to Trump’s provocation, Beijing vowed to “fight to the end” to protect its interests.
“If the United States willfully decides to escalate tensions, we’ll fight to the end,” ministry spokesman Gao Feng told a regular news briefing. “China does not want to fight a trade war, but also is not afraid of one. If the United States willfully decides to escalate trade tensions, we’ll adopt necessary countermeasures and resolutely safeguard the interests of China and its people.”
Taking questions beside French president Emanuel Macron following his remarks in Normandy, Trump told reporters that he would not make a final decision regarding whether to implement additional tariffs on China until after Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin meets with his counterparts in Japan for the G20 summit next week.
The president’s comments come after negotiators for the U.S. and Mexico failed to come to an agreement on Wednesday that would’ve avoided the implementation of a 5 percent tariff on Mexican goods entering the U.S.
Trump vowed to impose the levy last week if Mexico fails to stem the flow of migrants that has surged across the southern border in recent months. The tariffs are slated to take effect on Monday if a deal is not reached.
“Mexico was in yesterday. They’re coming back this morning. . . . I think a lot of progress was made yesterday, but we need to make a lot of progress,” Trump told reporters. “They have to step up and they have to step up to the plate — and perhaps they will.”