By Michael Hernandez
President Donald Trump threatened China with escalating economic penalties Monday if Beijing does not acquiesce to his demand to narrow the U.S.-China trade imbalance and halt other "unfair practices".
Trump said he is directing U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to draw up a list of an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods for 10 percent tariffs after he hit China on Friday with $50 billion in tariffs.
China retaliated by imposing an equivalent amount of tariffs on U.S. exports, sparking fears of a trade war, which were amplified by Trump Monday evening.
"China apparently has no intention of changing its unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology. Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening United States companies, workers, and farmers who have done nothing wrong," Trump said in a statement.
The additional $200 billion in tariffs will go into effect if China does not change course and change its trade practices, Trump said.
"If China increases its tariffs yet again, we will meet that action by pursuing additional tariffs on another $200 billion of goods," he said.
China is the U.S.'s third largest trade partner, but the U.S. had a goods and services trade deficit with China of $385 billion in 2016, the latest year for which data is available, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
In March, Trump imposed tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports, beginning the trade war. In return, China said it will impose $3 billion worth of tariffs between 15 to 25 percent on 128 American goods.
In April, Washington said it will impose 25 percent tariffs on 1,300 Chinese goods that are worth $50 billion. Beijing immediately said it will place 25 percent tariffs on 106 American goods worth $50 billion.