Stocks Open Sharply Lower as Trump Threatens New China Tariffs

U.S. stock markets are plunging after President Donald Trump yesterday pledged new tariffs against Chinese imports, igniting even more fears of a trade war between two of the world’s largest economies.

Overnight, Trump advised the United States Trade Representative to draw up plans for additional levies on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods at a rate of 10 percent.

“After the legal process is complete, these tariffs will go into effect if China refuses to change its practices and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced,” the president said in a statement. “The trade relationship between the United States and China must be more equitable.”

The announcement comes just four days after Trump decided to impose a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods that contain “industrially significant technologies” such as aerospace, information technology, robotics, machinery and automobiles. Beijing has vowed to retaliate with its own set of tariffs.

Footwear manufacturers and retailers have voiced their opposition to the plan, warning of the “negative impact … on America’s working families.” On March 20, 17 trade associations from the fashion and soft-goods industries issued a joint letter pointing out that the U.S. already imposes high border taxes on many consumer products, with footwear duties averaging 11 percent (some can go up to 67.5 percent on certain styles), according to the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America.

FDRA president and CEO Matt Priest elaborated on these sentiments today. “It’s very difficult to see how this doesn’t negatively impact all Americans of every walk of life,” he told FN. “The president claimed that trade wars are easy to win, but what our industry has always known is coming true: Trade wars are costly, unnecessary and do harm to the American economy. The footwear industry calls on the Trump administration to show real leadership and declare a cease-fire to this self-inflicted conflict.”

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Trump Administration Imposes Tariffs, Giving Rise to Global Trade War

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