China urges European Union to 'act together' against United States protectionism

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Trump said his move was in response to China's announcement this week that it will levy potential retaliatory tariffs on about $50 billion worth of us goods, including aircraft and soybeans.

"In light of China's unfair retaliation, I have instructed the USTR to consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate under section 301 and, if so, to identify the products upon which to impose such tariffs", Trump said in a statement issued by the White House.

"The Chinese side will follow suit to the end and at any cost, and will firmly attack, using new comprehensive countermeasures, to firmly defend the interest of the nation and its people", the Commerce Ministry said in a statement on its website, without further detailing any planned measures.

A snapshot of the Dow Jones earlier in the afternoon on Friday. Mr. Gao didn't elaborate. He said the US could still hammer out a deal with Beijing, in part by persuading other major economies to call out the Asian nation for unfair trading practices.

"Under these circumstances, the two sides can not possibly conduct any negotiations about this issue", said Gao.

The latest actions risk putting the countries "on a slippery slope towards a trade war", they said, noting the Trump's team of advisers following recent personnel changes raises the possibility.

In its response Beijing also targets soybeans with duties of 25 percent, an action aimed the heart of the USA economy because China buys 61 percent of total United States soybean exports and more than 30 percent of overall U.S. production of this cereal.

The Trump administration continued to send mixed signals about the potential for a trade war. USA crude slipped 0.7 percent to $63.09 a barrel and Brent was down 0.6 percent at $67.92 a barrel. But if the Trump administration pursues an additional $100 billion in tariff, the new $150 billion total would exceed the roughly $130 billion in goods China imports from the U.S. That would force Beijing to seek other options.

American Soybean Association (ASA) has expressed its extreme frustration about the escalation of a trade war with the largest customer of USA soybeans, and calling on the White House to reconsider the tariffs that led to this retaliation.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says some business executives have begun to express concerns to Fed officials about the impact of a possible trade war with China. Beijing's most powerful weapon - harming prominent companies to make President Trump lose face with the USA business community - has barely been touched so far in this conflict.

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In stock markets, Britain's FTSE 100 dropped 0.22 percent while the German Dax was down 0.59 percent and France's CAC 40 0.39 percent.

Trump responds to China's earlier announcement to target 106 more USA products.

In looking for retaliatory options beyond tariffs, economists said, Beijing can turn to its experience in punishing other countries it has had disputes with.

The tariffs will have consequences for a wide swath of American consumers and businesses.

US oil net exports to China averaged about 435,000 bpd in 2017, more than double a year earlier, when they averaged about 180,000 bpd, according to a Citigroup report dated April 3.

"There's every prospect that USA firms could be leaned on, face additional and aggravating regulation, or be sanctioned somehow", said George Magnus, an associate at the University of Oxford's China Center and a former chief economist for UBS.

Washington's punitive measures are centred on China's hi-tech sectors, including 25 per cent tariffs on Chinese industrial, medical, aerospace, communications, and transport products.

US crude inventories unexpectedly fell last week, data showed on Wednesday. Chinese markets were closed for a holiday.

"China is a responsible investor in global capital markets", Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao told reporters Wednesday.

"I have great respect for the president of China, President Xi".

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