Vietnam posts $3.1-billion trade surplus in Jan-July

Vietnam posts $3.1-billion trade surplus in Jan-July

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Trump directed the increase from a previously proposed 10 percent duty because China has refused to meet U.S. demands and has imposed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods.

The list named more than 6,000 items including food products, steel and aluminum, minerals and consumer goods such as handbags, dog food, furniture and carpets to auto tires, bicycles, baseball gloves and beauty products.

While the tariffs would not be imposed until after a period of public comment, raising the proposed level to 25 per cent could escalate the trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies.

Ed Bryztwa, director of worldwide trade at the American Chemistry Council, was especially concerned about the additional tariffs, even before the threat of more than doubling the tariff rate. The United States slapped duties on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods, provoking a similar response from China.

China, which has accused the United States of bullying, again vowed to retaliate if Trump proceeds with the measures, warning that pressure tactics would fail.

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"As the trade war escalates, there is a good chance that China retaliates by slapping a tariff on USA crude oil imports, making 3% of Chinese imports", Oil said.

China's new threat targeting a smaller amount of USA goods reflects the fact that Beijing is running out of products for retaliation due to its lopsided trade balance with the United States.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement it could add duties of 5, 10, 20 or 25 percent on 5,207 types of us imports, while warning it could adopt further countermeasures at any time.

The 25% tariffs would apply to the same products proposed in July.

The U.S. imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese products earlier this month, with plans to add another $16 billion of imports on Tuesday.

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China immediately expanded its own list of types of US products to be tariffed, including farm products, cars and crude oil. Answering a reporter's question about what was specifically said on trade, Wang said: "We did not speak in such details".

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow warned China after it announced its retaliatory tariffs, saying Beijing should not underestimate US President Donald Trump's determination to act on trade.

"If someone wants a trade war", China's commerce minister Zhong Shan has said, "we will fight to the end". "The cost increases will be passed on to customers, so it will affect most Americans' pocketbooks".

The possible change in tariff rate will alter a public comment period for the proposed tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods ranging from Chinese tilapia fish to furniture and lighting products, extending a comment deadline to September 5 from a previously announced deadline of August 30, the officials said.

Until now, senior administration officials have made great efforts to reassure investors and businesses that (a) tariffs are unlikely to be imposed; (b) even if imposed, the economic impact will be small; (c) the economy is strong enough to weather any hit; and (d) the short-term pain is worth the long-term gains from resetting relations with China. The combined total of over $500 billion of goods would cover virtually all Chinese imports into the United States.

The US Trade Representative's office initially had set a deadline for final public comments on the 10 per cent proposed tariffs to be filed by August 30, with public hearings scheduled for Aug.20-23.

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