Trump says he’s ready to hit China with $267bn in additional tariffs

A man walks past a screen at the Indonesia Stock Exchange building in Jakarta Indonesia

China's trade surplus with the United States widened by 10 per cent in August to US$31 billion, data showed on Saturday as the trade war between the two nations escalated with Donald Trump threatening duties on more Chinese imports.

China's large trade surplus with the United States has always been a sore point in relations and is at the center of an increasing bitter dispute between the world's two biggest economies.

He added that the $200 billion will "take place very soon, depending on what happens".

The two sides launched another salvo on August 23, imposing duties on Dollars 16 billion worth of products from each country.

President Trump warned on Friday that in addition to the $200 billion in tariffs now being prepared, he's also prepared to slap an additional $267 billion worth of tariffs on China if he deems it necessary.

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The Trump administration has already slapped duties on US$50 billion of Chinese exports since July, which spurred immediate in-kind retaliation from Beijing.

Chinese exports to the United States rose to US$44.4 billion in August, a 13.2 per cent increase from the same period past year, according to customs data.

But so far China had not met the Trump administration's requests.

The Trump administration is reportedly considering using an Obama-era executive order to slap new sanctions on Chinese entities using cyberattacks to steal USA intellectual property.

While China's trade surplus with the United States grew again, it remained stable with the rest of the world at US$27.9 billion in August. "That changes the equation".

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The surplus with the United States was larger than China's net surplus for the month, indicating China would be running a deficit if trade with the world's largest economy was excluded.

"We'll continue to talk to China", he said at the White House on Wednesday.

Those steps include slapping tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. imports, Gao said.

The last effort at a negotiated solution came in late August with meetings between low-level officials, but nothing came of it.

"If the U.S. dogmatically implements any new tariff measures against China, China will have to take the necessary countermeasures", commerce spokesman Gao Feng told reporters.

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In a letter to USA officials as part of the public consultation on the measures, the company said some of Apple's Beats headphones and its new HomePod smart speaker would also face levies.

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