Trump threatens tariffs on all US$505 billion of Chinese imports

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On Friday morning, Trump for a second day also criticized the Federal Reserve, breaking with a long-standing tradition at the White House of avoiding any influence, real or perceived, on the independence of the US central bank.

Trump, in the CNBC interview on Friday, said he was ready to impose tariffs on all $500 billion of imported goods from China, potentially further escalating a trade clash.

The Fed hiked interest rates twice this year, and plans to raise them two more times by the end of 2018.

The president emphasized that he would have said these remarks if he was a private citizen as well: "I don't like all of this work that we're putting into the economy, and then I see rates going up".

"I'm ready to go 500", the Republican leader told the USA network CNBC, referring to the US$505.5 billion (RM2.055 trillion) in Chinese imports accepted into the United States in 2017.

President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to place tariffs on all goods imported by the U.S. from China in a major escalation of the burgeoning trade war between the two nations. The U.S. exported $130 billion worth of goods to China.

"People are underestimating what we're headed for", said Rod Hunter, a lawyer who served as a White House economic adviser under President George W. Bush.

The US dollar lost ground against rival currencies following the comments.

The comments, plus Trump's criticism of Federal Reserve interest rate hikes, had sent the dollar tumbling against a basket of currencies.

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Chinese imports from the USA totaled $205 billion in the first five months of 2018, with the deficit reaching $152 billion.

Fed spokeswoman Michelle Smith declined to comment.

Powell has downplayed concerns about Trump's politicizing the Fed.

St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard said Trump's comments would have no bearing on interest rate decisions, which are made by a committee made up of government officials and the presidents of privately owned regional Federal Reserve banks.

President Donald Trump is criticizing the Federal Reserve as well as some of the largest US trading partners over monetary policy. "I want them to do well", he said.

Put another way: The best way for the Fed to assert its independence is to do exactly the opposite of what Trump suggested. "We have been ripped off by China for a long time". "I don't necessarily agree with it because he's raising interest rates".

Other economists are downplaying Trump's remarks, noting that Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is unlikely to be influenced by them and the central bank is an independent agency that has other safeguards created to insulate it from political pressure.

Recent currency strength could be exacerbated because the Fed is ahead of other global central banks in lifting interest rates after almost a decade of efforts to stimulate growth by keeping rates at ultralow levels. "We are being taken advantage of and I don't like it".

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