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The Latest: Powell says too early to predict tariff impact

April 6, 2018

In this March. 29, 2018 photo, container ships is docked at the Yangshan port in Shanghai. President Donald Trump has instructed the U.S. trade representative to consider slapping an additional $100 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods in a dramatic escalation of the trade dispute between the two countries. The news comes a day after Beijing announced plans to tax $50 billion in U.S. products, including soybeans and small aircraft, in response to a U.S. move earlier this week to slap tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports. (AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on a U.S. trade dispute with China (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

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.

In an appearance before the Economic Club of Chicago, Powell says the issue was discussed at the Fed’s March meeting. He said while business executives were saying that rising trade tensions had become a bit of a risk to the economic outlook, Fed officials felt it was too early to determine what the impact will be in such areas as inflation.

In response to a question, Powell said “tariffs can push up prices but ... it is too early I think to really say whether that is going to be something that happens or not”

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2:35 p.m.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the Trump administration is talking with Chinese officials and is willing to negotiate to resolve the trade dispute. But he says President Donald Trump will remain steadfast on protecting U.S. economic interests.

Mnuchin tells CNBC, “We’re absolutely willing to negotiate.” Mnuchin says in the interview that U.S. officials are in communication with the Chinese. But he adds, “On the other hand, the president is absolutely prepared to defend our interests.” He says those interests include protecting U.S. farmers.

The treasury secretary acknowledges that the escalation of tensions between the two countries has brought “the potential of a trade war.” But he says the current standoff is not the beginning of a trade war, and that he’s “cautiously optimistic that we’ll be able to work this out.”

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10:40 a.m.

The top White House economic adviser is saying, “Blame China, don’t blame Trump,” for any trade fight.

Larry Kudlow said President Donald Trump means “enough is enough” and is demanding that China stop “stealing” American intellectual property.

Kudlow spoke Friday outside the White House. He dismissed the notion that a trade war is inevitable, stressing that it’s just a proposal to raise U.S. tariffs on an additional $100 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Trump tweeted moments later, criticizing the World Trade Organization and suggesting it’s “unfair” to the U.S.

Kudlow started his job as director of the national economic council this week. He says he hopes differences can be mended through negotiations. But China said earlier Friday that that it would “counterattack with great strength.”

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9:45 a.m.

China’s government says it will “counterattack with great strength” if President Donald Trump goes ahead with plans to raise U.S. tariffs on an additional $100 billion worth of Chinese goods.

A Commerce Ministry spokesman said Friday that negotiations were impossible after Trump responded to Beijing’s protests about his earlier plan to raise duties on $50 billion of Chinese goods by announcing still more possible tariff hikes.

The spokesman, Gao Feng, said at a news conference: “If the U.S. side announces the list of products for $100 billion in tariffs, the Chinese side has fully prepared and will without hesitation counterattack with great strength.”

Gao gave no details of what measures Beijing might take.

Gao said, “under these circumstances, the two sides cannot possibly conduct any negotiations about this issue.”

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8:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump is pleased that that aluminum prices are down after he imposed new tariffs. He tweets, “People are surprised, I’m not!”

Trump tweeted Friday: “Despite the Aluminum Tariffs, Aluminum prices are DOWN 4%. People are surprised, I’m not! Lots of money coming into U.S. coffers and Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!”

In March, Trump imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum but exempted most major countries except China and Japan.

The trade dispute between the U.S. and China has escalated in recent days.

Trump spoke about the clash in an interview with the “Bernie and Sid” radio show on 77 WABC Radio that was taped Thursday and aired Friday. He said there “could be a little pain.” But he added, “We’re going to have a much stronger country when we’re finished.”

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1:30 a.m.

China’s commerce ministry says Beijing is prepared to fight the U.S. “at any cost” as a trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies escalated with President Donald Trump ordering the U.S. trade representative to consider slapping an additional $100 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods.

The ministry said in a statement Friday that if Washington persisted in what Beijing describes as protectionism, China would “dedicate itself to the end and at any cost and will definitely fight back firmly.”

Trump’s surprise directive Thursday came a day after Beijing announced plans to tax $50 billion in American products, including soybeans and small aircraft, in response to a U.S. move this week to slap tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports.

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1 a.m.

President Donald Trump has instructed the U.S. trade representative to consider slapping $100 billion in additional tariffs on Chinese goods.

The move comes a day after China issued a $50 billion list of U.S. goods including soybeans and small aircraft for possible tariff hikes in an escalating and potentially damaging dispute.

The White House says Trump has instructed the Office of the United States Trade Representative to consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate under section 301 and, if so, to identify which products they should apply to.

He’s also instructed his secretary of agriculture “to implement a plan to protect our farmers and agricultural interests.”

Trump argues China’s trade practices have led to the closure of American factories and the loss of millions of American jobs.

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