Trump says tariffs battle will help USA farmers

Trump is now willing to put Wall Street at risk if it means winning over Main Street. LEAH MILLIS  Reuters

Trump is now willing to put Wall Street at risk if it means winning over Main Street. LEAH MILLIS Reuters

China said Monday it will raise tariffs on $60 billion worth of United States goods from June 1, in retaliation for the latest round of U.S. tariff hikes and Washington's plans to target nearly all Chinese imports. Cellphones and laptops would be included in that list but pharmaceuticals would be excluded, the office said.

The prospect that the United States and China were spiraling into a fiercer, more protracted dispute that could derail the global economy has rattled investors and led to a sharp selloff on equities markets in the past week.

And U.S. President Donald Trump said he was optimistic about resolving the trade dispute. The sell-off extended the market's slide into a second week.

Higher gold prices, which helped to soften the blow during Monday's losses, kept the TSX from gaining more on Tuesday when prices dropped. Chipmakers were among the biggest decliners. Farming equipment maker Deere drove losses in the industrial sector.

Asked whether there is a stalemate or deadlock in the talks considering the strong rhetoric from both sides, Geng said, "after the 11th round of talks, my understanding is that the two countries have agreed to continue consultations".

"China has already given its answer: talk and the door is open, fight and we'll fight you to the end", an anchor read, looking directly at the camera.

He refuted Trump's allegation that China is going back on agreements reached in earlier rounds of talks and accused the United States president of violating the consensus reached between the two sides.

"He just got back from China".

"Maybe something will happen", Trump said in remarks at the White House.

Shi Yinhong, director of the American studies center at Renmin University, said: "Previously the Chinese government always understated the trade conflict with the United States, only said this is trade friction but now the trade friction has hit to this level".

China earlier imposed additional tariffs on US$60 billion worth of United States imports. It said a June 17 hearing would be held before Washington decides how to proceed.

But when asked whether China was making preparations for a possible Xi-Trump meeting, Geng said: "I have no information at present about the specific question raised". "China hopes the US will get back to the right track of bilateral trade and economic consultations and meet with China halfway".

Earlier, Trump said an agreement could be reached "when the time is right" but not unless Washington can narrow last year's $419 billion trade deficit with Beijing. The move affected 5,700 categories of Chinese products, including internet modems and routers.

Mr Trump is enraged by Chinese intellectual property theft and support for state industries and believes he has to change the global trading system itself because it is ripping off the US.

His administration is preparing to extend 25% tariffs to practically all Chinese imports not already hit with duties, including toys, sneakers, shirts, alarm clocks, toasters and coffeemakers.

Trump said he could make a deal with Beijing now, but said he would not be burned again and criticised China for last-minute attempts to renegotiate.

"With depressed prices and unsold stocks expected to double by the 2019 harvest, soybean farmers are not willing to be collateral damage in an endless tariff war", ASA President Davie Stephens said in a statement Monday.

Economists and industry consultants, however, maintain that it is US businesses that will pay the costs and likely pass them on to consumers.

The Trump administration previous year offered $12 billion in compensation to American farmers and has vowed to do more, using the revenues from the new tariffs - which he incorrectly claims is paid by China rather than USA importers.

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