President Trump retaliated Friday against Beijing for its decision to hike tariffs on U.S. goods by sharply increasing tariffs on Chinese imports in a dramatic escalation of the two nations' increasingly costly trade war.
Early Friday, China announced that it will place tariffs of 5 percent and 10 percent on $75 billion of U.S. imports, phased in from Sept. 1. The tariffs will be placed on more than 5,000 U.S. products.
The move appeared to enrage the president who promptly vowed to respond. That response came shortly after the U.S. stock market closed.
Trump tweeted that starting Oct. 1 he will raise to 30 percent from 25 percent tariffs on $250 billion of goods. Further, he tweeted that he is raising to 15 percent from 10 percent the remaining $300 billion of imports from China that he already had announced would begin Sept. 1.
The latest salvo in the trade war threatens to further rattle investors and possibly force the hand of the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates next month when its powerful rate-setting committee meets.
Early on Friday, Trump attacked his hand-picked Fed Chair, Jerome Powell as an “enemy” who could pose a bigger threat to the U.S. than China and President Xi Jinping. Trump has been critical of Powell and the Fed claiming the central bank's failure to cut rates has hurt the U.S. economy.
Powell for his part today promised at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium in Wyoming to help maintain a growing economy while also saying that U.S. trade policies and tariffs could be causing the economy to slow.
China's newly announced tariffs on U.S. goods and the prospect that Trump would retaliate with a major economic salvo hammered American stocks on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing more than 600 points lower and all three major averages down for the week.
Besides Trump's announced tariff hikes, the president earlier Friday ordered U.S. companies to explore relocating their businesses outside of China.
“We don’t need China and, frankly, would be far better off without them,” Mr. Trump tweeted mid-morning Friday.