President Donald Trump’s decision to intensify the trade war with China by adding more tariffs on Chinese goods came after aides thought they had talked him out of it several weeks ago. This is according to two people close to the discussions.
But the president’s frustration with China hit a new mark this week after Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer returned from trade talks in Shanghai. They reported that Chinese officials offered no new proposals for ending an impasse that’s persisted since May, according to the people.
Trump made a Twitter announcement on Thursday that he will now impose a 10 percent tariff on roughly $300 billion in Chinese imports starting on Sept. 1. It drew a quick reaction from China on Friday which signaled peril for further chances of progress in the talks. The U.S. is trying to get China to make commitments deal with policies it says amount to widespread theft of U.S. technology and intellectual property.
“China will not accept any form of pressure, intimidation or deception,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a press conference Friday.
China‘s Ministry of Commerce released a statement that said Beijing would impose countermeasures.
“The U.S. has to bear all the consequences,” the statement said. “China believes there will be no winners of this trade war and does not want to fight. But we are not afraid to fight and will fight if necessary.”
The raised tensions come after initial optimism following a meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Japan in late June.
The targeted list of goods includes consumer goods like smartphones, clothing, shoes and other retail items. The decision caused a backlash from the retail and business groups who warn that a continued tariff campaign will only damage what is now a strong U.S. economy.