President Donald Trump has hinted that the US could slap tariffs on up to $500 billion worth of Chinese imports, Reuters reports, essentially equalling the entire value of China’s exports to the US.
“You have another $16 billion in two weeks, and then, as you know, we have $200 billion in abeyance and then after the $200 billion, we have $300 billion in abeyance. OK? So we have 50 + 200 + almost 300,” Trump said on Thursday.
The ‘first shot’ of a US-China trade war is expected to be fired at Friday midnight Eastern Time, when $34 billion of Chinese manufactured goods will become subject to tariffs at the American border. China has already made clear its intention to retaliate immediately in kind. Trump has previously said that if China responds to his tariffs with their own protectionist measures impacting US goods then the White House may ramp up their actions ten-fold.
“The US has all the cards,” Trump said during a GOP rally on Thursday.