May 13, 2019 / 11:00 AM / 2 months ago

Trump warns China not to retaliate against tariff hike

FILE PHOTO: Chinese and U.S. flags are set up for a meeting during a visit by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao at China's Ministry of Transport in Beijing, China April 27, 2018. Picture taken April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday warned China not to retaliate against a hike in tariffs he imposed last week and said that the nation “will be hurt very badly if you don’t make a deal.”

There “is no reason for the U.S. Consumer to pay the Tariffs, which take effect on China today ... China should not retaliate-will only get worse!” Trump tweeted, adding that tariffs can be avoided if manufacturers shift production from China to other countries.

Trump lifted tariffs to 25% from 10% on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports last week. He also ordered U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to draft paperwork imposing tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, which would effectively blanket all Chinese imports with duties.

The president’s denial that U.S. consumers would be affected by the spike in tariffs ran counter to the words of his own economic adviser. White House National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow said in an interview on Sunday that “both sides” would likely suffer amid increased trade tensions with China.

Trump continued to accuse China of reneging on a trade deal the two countries had been negotiating and threatened the nation with economic pain if the trade war drags on, saying businesses will leave China in droves.

“I say openly to President Xi & all of my many friends in China that China will be hurt very badly if you don’t make a deal because companies will be forced to leave China for other countries. Too expensive to buy in China. You had a great deal, almost completed, & you backed out!” Trump said.

Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Peter Graff and Jeffrey Benkoe

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