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Trump threatens China with another round of tariffs
US President Donald Trump said on Monday that he was ready to impose another round of punitive tariffs on Chinese imports if he makes no progress in trade talks with China's president at a Group of 20 (G-20) summit later this month.
Since the talks to resolve the US-China trade dispute last month in Washington ended deadlocked, the US leader has repeatedly said he expected to meet President Xi Jinping at the June 28-29 summit in Osaka.
China has not confirmed such a meeting.
Mr Trump said last week he would decide after the G-20 meeting whether to carry out a threat to impose tariffs on at least US$300 billion in Chinese goods.
He told reporters on Monday that he still thought the meeting with Mr Xi would happen. "We are scheduled to talk and to meet. I think interesting things will happen. Let's see what happens."
The US has already imposed 25 per cent tariffs on US$250 billion worth of goods.
China's foreign ministry said on Monday that Beijing is open to more trade talks with Washington but has nothing to announce about a possible meeting.
Tensions between Washington and Beijing rose sharply last month after the Trump administration accused China of having reneged on promises to make structural economic changes during trade talks.
The US is seeking sweeping changes, including an end to forced technology transfers and the theft of US trade secrets. It also wants curbs on subsidies for Chinese state-owned enterprises and better access for US firms in Chinese markets.
On May 10, Mr Trump raised tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods up to 25 per cent and took steps to levy duties on another US$300 billion in Chinese imports. Beijing hit back with tariff hikes on a list of US$60 billion in US goods.
The US government has also angered China by blacklisting Huawei Technologies, which effectively bans US companies from doing business with the Chinese firm, the world's biggest telecoms equipment maker.
Investors worry China will retaliate by putting US companies on a blacklist or banning exports to the US of rare earth metals, used in products such as memory chips, rechargeable batteries and cell phones.
Fitch Ratings said on Monday any such move would be disruptive to the US tech sector and could hurt some Chinese sectors as well, though it added that it was too early to assess potential credit implications.
Mr Trump said in a CNBC interview that the Huawei dispute could be addressed as part of a trade deal with China.
The escalating trade war between the two largest economies has unnerved financial markets with worries that it could further disrupt global manufacturing and supply chains and push an already-slowing global economy into recession.
On Sunday, International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde said resolving the current trade tensions should be the top priority for G-20 economies.
China reported on Monday that its exports unexpectedly grew 1.1 per cent in May from a year ago despite the higher US tariffs, but its imports fell the most in nearly three years.
Some analysts say Chinese exporters may have rushed out shipments to the US to avoid the new US tariffs. REUTERS