China's trade surplus with U.S. hit new record in August

A man walks past a screen at the Indonesia Stock Exchange building in Jakarta Indonesia

A package of tariffs worth $200bn is close to being imposed on Chinese imports to the USA and Trump's latest suggested round - which would be worth $267bn - would sharply escalate Trump's trade war with China.

Trump did not indicate whether the office of the United States trade representative (USTR) had reached a decision regarding the rate of the latest round of tariffs, originally proposed at 10 per cent.

He said Friday that tariffs on another US$200 billion in Chinese goods are "in the hopper" and "could take place very soon".

"And I hate to say that, but behind that, there's another US$267 billion ready to go on short notice if I want. That changes the equation".

The official Chinese media is asserting that Trump's trade war is aimed at containing China's rise, a perception solidifying Beijing's resolve not to buckle under USA demands.

Stocks dipped after the comments, with the S&P500 off 0.2 percent.

Kudlow, who heads the National Economic Council, told CNBC the administration was still talking with China about trade issues but so far China had not met United States requests.

Lighthizer is due to meet Monday in Brussels with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom to resolve the dispute ignited when Trump imposed steep duties on all steel and aluminum imports.

On Friday (September 8), Kudlow also told Bloomberg the administration would consider public comments before making a final call on the 200 billion list.

He added that he's ready to place yet another round of tariffs on $267 billion in Chinese goods after that - bringing the total imports from China subject to tariffs to more than $500 billion.

Speaking to reporters aboard presidential jet Air Force One en route to a Republican Party fundraiser, Trump also breathed new life into threats he previously made to impose tariffs on the entirety of Chinese imports, which were worth over US$500 billion past year.

"These are basically fiscal subsidies to offset the negative impacts of the tariffs", said Li Yishuang, a Shanghai-based economist at China Securities Finance Co.

"We know that the President has received reports that the Chinese economy is struggling - reports that we believe are overstated - and thus he may believe that additional pressure might be effective in the short-term", Allen said.

"Our concern with these tariffs is that the United States will be hardest hit, and that will result in lower USA growth and competitiveness and higher prices for U.S. consumers", Apple said in the letter.

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