- The Washington Times - Monday, May 13, 2019

Stocks plunged in trading Monday amid tough words and ever-more-grim prospects of quickly resolving the trade dispute between the U.S. and China, which said Monday it plans to raise tariffs on $60 billion worth of American products on June 1.

The decision to levy nearly 2,500 goods at 25% — up from 10% — was payback for President Trump’s decision to jack up tariffs on Chinese imports as trade talks fell apart heading into the weekend.

China’s finance ministry said it was forced to act because Americans were “jeopardizing the interests of both sides and not meeting the general expectations of the international community.”

Roughly 2,500 additional products will be slapped with tariffs on a sliding scale below 25%, the ministry said.

Mr. Trump was unbowed, saying the U.S. retains the upper hand in the escalating fight.



“I love the position we’re in,” he said at the White House. “I think it’s working out really well.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell sharply after opening Monday, and stocks for companies like Boeing and Apple, which rely on Chinese trade, performed poorly.

Mr. Trump, who watches the markets closely, said a measure of retaliation was expected as he campaigns against a trade system he views as rigged against Americans.

The president said China is to blame for the impasse, arguing a trade pact was “95 percent done” before the other side reneged on previously negotiated aspects.

He warned Chinese President Xi Jinping that things will only get worse for his country if he continues to push back.

China will be hurt very badly if you don’t make a deal because companies will be forced to leave China for other countries. Too expensive to buy in China,” Mr. Trump said in tweets directed at Mr. Xi. “You had a great deal, almost completed, & you backed out!”

Both sides say they will continue to talk, and Mr. Trump plans to meet with Mr. Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G-20 summit in Japan next month.

Yet lawmakers and business leaders are getting skittish, saying American consumers bear the brunt of passed-down costs when the U.S. raises tariffs on Chinese products.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley, meanwhile, said it’s imperative that both countries resolve the impasse, citing the trade war’s impact on farmers back home.

“Increasing U.S. tariffs on Chinese products and the retaliatory tariffs from China will hurt both countries. This intensifies the urgency of reaching an agreement as soon as possible to end this trade war,” the Iowa Republican said.

“Americans understand the need to hold China accountable,” he added, “but they also need to know that the administration understands the economic pain they would feel in a prolonged trade war.”

A breakdown from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which says a trade war is the wrong approach, says Iowa’s hardest hit exports will be swine parts, soybeans and animal feed.

Mr. Trump said he will make sure U.S. farmers are insulated from the harshest effects of the trade conflict.

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