Trump renews China tariff case ahead of meeting with Xi

Trump renews China tariff case ahead of meeting with Xi

US President Donald Trump. AFP Photo 

US President Donald Trump has said he is likely to go ahead with raising tariffs on Chinese imports to 25 per cent from the current 10 per cent and threatened to slap tariffs on all remaining imports from the country if talks with Beijing over trade did not go well.

His comments to the Wall Street Journal come as he is expected to meet Chinese counterpart in Xi Jinping on the sidelines of this week's G20 summit in Argentine.

The two leaders are expected to discuss a trade deal. Trump said if negotiations do not produce a favourable outcome for the US, he would also put tariffs on the rest of Chinese imports that are currently not subject to duties.

The US president said it was "highly unlikely" that he would agree to Beijing's request to hold off on the planned tariff rise, the newspaper said.

"If we don’t make a deal, then I’m going to put the USD 267 billion additional on at a tariff rate of either 10 per cent or 25 per cent," he told the daily.

He said Apple iPhones and laptop computers imported from China could also be subject to tariffs.

"Why shouldn’t China rip off the United States if we have people allowing that to happen? And whether it was President Obama or preceding presidents, they all allowed it to happen. You know, we don’t even have a deal with – I don’t know if you know. We really don’t have a deal with China. They do whatever they want, he said.

Trump said that the trade with China has been a terrible one-way street with a deficit of at a minimum USD 375 billion a year.

"But we have literally helped rebuild China with the kind of money that we lose on a trade, and I just decided about a year ago that I just won’t do that," he said.

"I am very happy with what’s going on right now. We’ve only used a small portion of what we have to use because I have another USD267 billion (in imports) to go if I want, and then I’m also able to raise interest rates. And we have money that is pouring right now," he said.

According to Trump, China’s economic rise all began with the World Trade Organization, which he described as a disaster.

"The World Trade Organization is absolutely unfair to the United States, and they’re going to have to change their ways," asserted the US President.

"That’s when China ascended. That’s when China – you can look at – they were – they were flatlining for many years, and then they went like a rocket ship up the day they signed the World Trade,” he said.

Trump insisted that he wants a fair deal from China.

"Make a fair deal. The only deal that would really be acceptable to me – other than obviously we have to do something on the theft of intellectual property, right – but the only deal would be China has to open up their country to competition from the United States," he said.

Trump launched a trade war with China this year, which has seen the US hit about half of all Chinese imports into the US with tariffs.

China has retaliated with imposing tariffs on American products.