United States stock futures tumble after Trump threatens China with steeper tariffs

Donald Trump

To turn up the heat on Beijing, Trump has even threatened to impose tariffs on all Chinese products entering the United States, which were worth $539.5 billion past year.

Trump's acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week began publicly ramping up pressure on China to reach a deal, warning it could still walk away from the months-long negotiations.

In the announcement on Twitter, Trump said that talks to secure a trade deal with China are continuing, but are moving "too slowly".

"The 10% will go up to 25% on Friday", he said.

"More likely, in our view, is that this renewed threat is an attempt to extract a few more minor concessions in the final days of talks", he said.

In an abrupt shift from the White House after both sides had indicated negotiations were going well, Trump issued a pair of tweets on Sunday Washington time, saying he's not satisfied with the pace of progress and that the duties would increase Friday.

Trump's move is a reversal of his decision in February not to increase tariffs from 10 per cent to 25 per cent on $200 billion of goods, thanks to progress in the trade talks.

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Despite the happy talk from Trump and others in recent days, the U.S. has become frustrated with China's backpedalling on some of its earlier commitments, including on the crucial matter of technology transfer, two people familiar with the situation said.

In February, Trump delayed a tariff hike planned for March 1, citing "productive" talks between the United States and China.

In the bilateral consultations, Washington and Beijing are trying to work out a mutually acceptable trade agreement that would put an end to an nearly year-long tariff war between the world's largest economies. The Chinese regime quickly retaliated with tariffs on roughly $34 billion worth of USA goods, mostly agricultural products.

Once he took office, Mr. Trump's relationship with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, seemed to get off to a good start.

It is understood that key sticking points include how to police any deal, and whether existing tariffs will be removed or stay in place.

The president, a self-described "tariff man" who believes the trade imbalance can be whittled down with the use of import duties, explicitly linked USA growth to the imposition of Chinese tariffs.

Trump has repeatedly blamed what he sees as China's unfair trade practices for the hollowing out of the US manufacturing sector.

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