US enforces tariffs on another $16bn of Chinese goods

U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping

U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping

"The threat that these tariffs could be imposed, and even expanded to include all consumer goods imported from China, has already started a scramble among importers to find alternative sources of supply, including in the United States", Gold said.

Beijing denies Washington's allegations and insists it adheres to WTO rules.

As part of Trump's aggressive trade stance, Washington hit China with punitive duties on another $16 billion in goods, triggering a swift tit-for-tat retaliation from Beijing.

Thousands of American and Chinese products became 25 percent more expensive overnight, but talks are underway Thursday to try to avert more economic damage from President Donald Trump's multifront trade confrontations.

The US has threatened tariffs on all $500bn worth of Chinese exports to the US, an amount Beijing can not reciprocate. The first round of tariffs covered Chinese products worth US$34 billion.

The meetings this week in Washington appear set to highlight the continuing divide inside the Trump administration over how best to deal with Beijing and how China hawks are winning that battle.

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"Instead, these tariffs threaten to increase costs for American families and destroy the livelihoods of USA workers", Gold said.

But the two are unlikely to come to an agreement, and reports suggests US President Trump remains committed to a trade war.

Its removal also came hours before Chinese and USA business representatives were slated to discuss the escalating trade war in Washington, and ahead of the latest round of US$16 billion in tariffs from both sides going into effect.

The tariffs took effect while U.S. and Chinese officials hold two days of talks in Washington.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which is responsible for the China-specific tariffs (but not the steel and aluminum tariffs, which are handled by the Commerce Department), is in the midst of six days of hearings about the prospect of raising import taxes on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

This week's talks are also taking place as hundreds of executives and officials from USA companies, trade groups and other entities have descended on Washington to weigh in on the administration's planned tariffs on the additional US$200 billion in Chinese imports.

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That would more than exceed the size of China's imports from the U.S., raising concerns that Beijing could consider other types of retaliation, such as making life more hard for American firms in China or letting its yuan currency weaken further to keep its exports competitive.

Combined with the round of tariffs that took effect in early July, two countries have imposed tariffs on a total of $100 billion of their traded goods.

Chinese authorities have said they would take "comprehensive measures", which companies worry could mean targeting operations of United States firms in China for disruption.

A spokeswoman at China's embassy in Washington could not immediately be reached for comment.

"I think the fact that they would send lower level folks suggests that they're not talking about the big things", former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said Thursday on CNBC.

The initial list of USA demands presented to China in May included a call for a US$200 billion reduction in America's annual goods trade deficit with China by 2020 - which stood at about US$375 billion previous year - and an end to industrial policies that the USA claims violates global trading rules.

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