Trump's free trade plan could be his Reagan moment

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The Trump administration is proposing raising planned taxes on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent, turning up the pressure on Beijing in a trade war between the world's two biggest economies.

Washington imposed additional 25 per cent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods July 6 in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. The change isn't final yet and may not go forward after a public review, the people said.

The government will seek public comment on the idea. China retaliated in kind.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said: "The increase in the possible rate of the additional duty is meant to provide the administration with additional options to encourage China to change its harmful policies and behaviour and adopt policies that will lead to fairer markets and prosperity for all of our citizens". The plan to more than double the tariff rate was first reported by Bloomberg News.

Erin Ennis, senior vice president of the U.S.

President Donald Trump won a victory for freer trade last week when he and the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, agreed to find ways to lower tariffs and other barriers to each other's exports.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing in Beijing that US pressure on trade won't work, and that Beijing has always upheld using dialogue to resolve trade issues.

Investors fear an escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing could hit global economic growth, and prominent U.S. business groups, while tired of what they see as China's mercantilist trade practices, have condemned Mr Trump's aggressive tariffs. "Regrettably, instead of changing its harmful behavior, China has illegally retaliated against US workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses".

Have these tariffs impacted American businesses at all?

Two Trump administration officials told reporters on a conference call that Mr Trump remained open to communications with Beijing and that through informal conversations the two countries were discussing whether a "fruitful negotiation" was possible. "The cost increases will be passed on to customers, so it will affect most Americans pocketbooks". Administration officials are exploring an additional $200 billion of goods on which tariffs might be imposed.

"If the United States takes further measures that escalate the situation, China will definitely fight back", said Geng.

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