US President Donald Trump cranked up the heat on Friday in a trade battle with China, ordering a tariff hike on almost all remaining imports from the world's second-biggest economy, putting at risk global growth and the stability of financial markets.
After tweeting that two days of trade talks in Washington had been candid and constructive, the businessman-turned-politician changed tack and followed through on a threat he had been making for months.
The President ... ordered us to begin the process of raising tariffs on essentially all remaining imports from China, which are valued at approximately US$300 billion, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.
The move came less than 24 hours after Washington increased punitive duties on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports, raising them to 25% from 10%.
Details on the process for public notice and comment will be posted on Monday, ahead of a final decision on the new tariffs, Lighthizer said. They were not expected to go into effect for several months.
Beijing responded by vowing to take the necessary countermeasures.
The developments came as two days of talks to resolve the trade battle ended on Friday with no deal, but no breakdown either, offering a glimmer of hope that Washington and Beijing could find a way to avert damage to the global economy.
Over the course of the past two days, the United States and China have held candid and constructive conversations on the status of the trade relationship between both countries, Trump tweeted.
The relationship between President Xi and myself remains a very strong one, and conversations into the future will continue.
The tariffs on China may or may not be removed depending on what happens with respect to future negotiations!
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He told reporters that the talks had gone fairly well.
The seemingly positive messages - coming before the announcement that Trump had ordered the latest round of tariffs - had cheered Wall Street, which had been under pressure all week. The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average recovered from a loss of nearly 350 points to close with a gain of 117 points.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Lighthizer met for about two hours with Liu on Friday and then headed for the White House to brief Trump, who had said he was in no hurry to reach a deal, arguing the United States was negotiating from a position of strength.
Trump began the standoff because of complaints about unfair Chinese trade practices. The United States is pressing China to change its policies on protections for intellectual property, as well as massive subsidies for state-owned firms, and to reduce the yawning trade deficit.