Trump Threatens to Dramatically Expand Trade War With China

The president has raised tariffs on a host of imports, triggering retaliatory tariffs from key trade partners like China and the European Union.

In the CNBC interview, Trump also said he was "not happy" the Fed planned to continue raising benchmark lending rates.

China filed a challenge against the latest round of USA tariffs with the World Trade Organization this earlier week.

President Trump said he may be considering placing an additional $500 billion worth of tariffs on China.

Nor is it the only time the Fed and the White House have clashed.

The proposed 25 percent tariff on imported cars and auto parts from Europe and elsewhere could give buyers sticker shock.

Trump on Thursday criticized the Fed's series of interest-rate increases, breaking with more than two decades of White House tradition of avoiding comments on monetary policy out of respect for the independence of the USA central bank.

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But Trump's comments did not do much to push the dollar down versus the yuan, however.

On Twitter, Trump also accused China and the European Union of manipulating their currencies to promote their exports at the expense of the United States, and criticised the Fed for raising interest rates. Its rate hikes are meant to prevent the economy from overheating and igniting high inflation. But rate increases also make borrowing costlier for households and companies and can weaken growth.

Ex-Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher told CNBC that Trump was off course in his criticism of the Fed, which is headed by Trump appointee Jerome Powell.

Trump has been on a mission to reduce the US$552-billion USA trade deficit and rebuild the nation's manufacturing sector.

"And the reason it was brilliant is he was looking back at President Bush and President Reagan - both of whom had publicly grumbled about the Fed raising rates", Low noted. "He's been saying since the '80s that trade deals are bad and we should have more tariffs, and that's what we're getting". Earlier this month, the United States also scheduled additional tariffs on $16bn of Chinese electronics and other components.

In June, he also broke established protocol as regards to sensitive economic data with a tweet signaling May's strong jobs report ahead of the labor department's own announcement, a move some describe as a blatant misuse of presidential power as such numbers usually have an impact on stock and bond prices.

Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group, called China's lowering of the trading band "the starting of a currency war" in response to the trade war. On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial closed down slightly. "I really like President Xi (Jinping) a lot".

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With trade tensions rising, so is the pushback in the US from private business that see potentially devastating ramifications, not only from China, but from Europe, Canada, and other countries in Asia. Last week, Powell said in an interview with the radio program Marketplacethat he didn't expect to face pressure from the White House.

"That isn't how trade negotiations work", Yerxa said.

The US and China have already imposed tit-for-tat tariffs of $34bn on each other's goods.

"Given what we know about Powell, we see little chance the President has gotten in his head", Feroli wrote in a note to clients. Analysts suggest Beijing is willing to let the yuan depreciate the longer the trade war rumbles on.

The US official said China should have reacted to the tariffs with a package of reforms to be implemented over the next few years.

Yet Trump soon intensified his tariff threats anyway. "They've received conflicting messages depending on who they speak with".

Trump has told reporters before that the USA could target all of China's imports.

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In a reference to interest-rate increases by the Federal Reserve, Trump added, "tightening now hurts all that we have done". Chinese imports from the US totaled $205 billion in the first five months of 2018, with the deficit reaching $152 billion.

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