Trump threatens further $100bn in tariffs against China

US President Donald Trump has instructed officials to consider a further $100bn (£71.3bn) of tariffs against China, in an escalation of a tense trade stand-off.

These would be in addition to the $50bn worth of US tariffs already proposed on hundreds of Chinese imports.

China’s Ministry of Commerce responded, saying China would “not hesitate to pay any price” to defend its interests.

Tit-for-tat trade moves have unsettled global markets in recent weeks.

The latest US proposal came after China threatened tariffs on 106 key US products.

In response to Mr Trump’s latest announcement, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said: “China and the US as two world powers should treat each other on a basis of equality and with respect.

“By waving a big stick of trade sanctions against China, the US has picked a wrong target.”

Ministry of Commerce Spokesman Gao Feng said: “We do not want to fight, but we are not afraid to fight a trade war.”

He said that if the US side ignores opposition from China and the international community and insists on “unilateralist and protectionist acts,” then China will “not hesitate to pay any price, and will definitely strike back resolutely… [to] defend the interests of the country and its people.”

Analysts have warned of the risk of a full-blown trade war for the global economy and the markets, and believe ongoing behind-the-scenes negotiations between the two giants are crucial.

Market reaction in Asia on Friday suggested investors were relatively untroubled by the latest twist in the trade row. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose more than 1% while Japan’s Nikkei index edged lower.

How has this unfolded?

Earlier this year, the US announced it would impose import taxes of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium. The tariffs were to be wide-ranging and would include China.

China responded last month with retaliatory tariffs worth $3bn of its own against the US on a range of goods, including pork and wine. Beijing said the move was intended to safeguard its interests and balance losses caused by the new tariffs.

Then the US announced it was imposing some $50bn worth of tariffs on Chinese-made goods, blaming what it described as unfair Chinese intellectual property practices, such as those that pressured US companies to share technology with Chinese firms.

Mr Trump argues that because Beijing forces any US firms setting up shop in China to tie up with a Chinese company, US ideas are left open to theft and abuse.

Mr Trump reiterated in his statement on Thursday that China’s “illicit trade practices” had been ignored by Washington for years and had destroyed “thousands of American factories and millions of American jobs”.

The draft details of the $50bn to $60bn worth of tariffs were released last week when Washington set out about 1,300 Chinese products it intended to hit with tariffs set at 25%.

China responded this week by proposing retaliatory tariffs, also worth some $50bn, on 106 key US products, including soybeans, aircraft parts and orange juice. This set of tariffs was narrowly aimed at politically important sectors in the US, such as agriculture.

In Mr Trump’s Thursday statement he branded that retaliation by Beijing as “unfair”.

“Rather than remedy its misconduct, China has chosen to harm our farmers and manufacturers,” he said.

“In light of China’s unfair retaliation, I have instructed the USTR (United States Trade Representative) to consider whether $100bn of additional tariffs would be appropriate… and, if so, to identify the products upon which to impose such tariffs.”

He said he had also instructed agricultural officials to implement a plan to protect US farmers and agricultural interests.

What could the impact be?

On the political front, Mr Trump’s latest announcement has elicited a less-than-friendly reception from some fellow Republicans.

They have warned that the tariffs will hurt Americans and cost jobs. They have also said relationships the US has with its other big trading partners could be hurt.

US retail giants including Walmart and Target have also asked Mr Trump to consider carefully the impact the tariffs would have on consumer prices and American families.

On Thursday, Ben Sasse, a Republican Senator from the farming area of Nebraska, said Mr Trump’s latest plan was “nuts” and that he hoped the president was “just blowing off steam”.

“Let’s absolutely take on Chinese bad behaviour, but with a plan that punishes them instead of us,” he said.

“This is the dumbest possible way to do this.”

Mr Sasse’s comments echo sentiment pouring out of various Republican-voting farming belts in the US. America’s soybean farmers are expected to be particularly hurt by Mr Trump’s tariff tactics.

To get a sense of how things might play out for those farmers, the trade tit-for-tat could hit soybean producers in the US – and possibly around the world.

China, which is a big producer of soybeans itself, buys about 60% of all soybeans exported by the US.

It uses the product to feed farmed animals, including pigs and chickens, as well as fish. Those animals are in turn used to help feed China’s enormous population.

China’s demand for soybeans and soybean products has buoyed the price of US soybeans for some time.

  • Five reasons why trade wars aren’t easy to win
  • Not a trade ‘war’ but a trade ‘dance’
  • Why China won’t baulk at US tariff threat

    But Beijing’s tariffs against US soybeans will mostly likely see sales to China fall off, which will in turn hurt American farmers.

    Meanwhile, China will need to set about sourcing the extra soybeans it needs from other countries.

    India is one of the world’s biggest soybean producers, and analysts there have already pointed to a potential trade war between the US and China as an opportunity for its economy.

    Other big soybean producers are Argentina and Brazil, and some studies suggest that is where China will turn to should the current set of proposed tariffs come into force.

    But it could end up paying more than it currently does, ultimately forcing up the price of those animals which eat soybean products. So that would mean pork, for example, China’s most popular meat, could get more expensive. And food price inflation is something that will worry Beijing.

    Beijing Deals

    What China sells to the US

    $462.6bn

    The value of of goods bought by the US from China in 2016.

    • 18.2% of all China's exports go to the United States

    • $129bn worth of China-made electrical machinery bought by US

    • 59.2% growth in Chinese services imported by US between 2006 & 2016

    • $347bn US goods trade deficit with China

      CIA Factbook; USTR. All data for 2016. Getty Images

      How long could this last?

      China has initiated a complaint with the World Trade Organization over the US tariffs, in what analysts say is a sign that this will be a protracted process.

      The WTO circulated the request for consultation to members on Thursday, launching a discussion period before the complaint heads to formal dispute settlement process.

      Meanwhile, under US law, the proposed set of tariffs against about 1,300 Chinese products must now go under review, including a public notice and comment process, and a hearing.

      The hearing is scheduled at the moment for 15 May, with post-hearing filings due a week later.

      So, it could be some months before the USTR will announce its final findings or any decision on whether or not it will move ahead with the proposed tariffs.

What next for Trump’s trade agenda?

There’s no doubt about the big question that looms now for international trade officials.

It is: what can they expect next from the United States under President Trump?

For decades after the Second World War, the US was arguably the biggest cheerleader for the gradual liberalisation of trade that took place.

Now, the US is the principal cause of anxiety among supporters of that process.

President Trump’s approach to international commerce is assertive and confrontational, driven by an agenda described as economic nationalism.

It is a central element behind the escalating trade tension this week.

Some fear that this approach will undermine the system that has evolved in the last three quarters of a century.

Ambivalent

It is a complex system based to a large extent on rules managed through the World Trade Organization (WTO), supplemented with agreements among groups of countries that provide still deeper trade integration.

President Trump has shown little enthusiasm for those deeper agreements. He pulled the US out of one that had not been implemented as soon as he took office – the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and has threatened to repudiate another, the North American Free Trade Agreement.

On the WTO, the Trump administration has been ambivalent.

Some recent steps have been given a WTO justification. The controversial tariffs on steel and aluminium followed an investigation by the US Commerce Department which concluded that imports of the metals were a threat to national security.

In essence, the argument is that the US military needs a more reliable source of supply from the country’s own industry.

WTO rules do permit countries to impose trade barriers to protect national security that would not otherwise be allowed.

It’s another question whether national security really was the motivation and many critics, including the European Commission and China, don’t believe it was.

Tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels were safeguard measures, actions that are permitted in response to surges in imports, provided they are done in a way that is consistent with the WTO rulebook.

More difficult is the proposal, not yet implemented, to target Chinese goods with tariffs because of the country’s alleged appropriation of the intellectual property – such as patents and designs – of American companies.

It is certainly true that protecting trade partners’ intellectual property is required by WTO rules and the US concern about China is shared by others, including the EU.

But countries are in most circumstances supposed to use WTO procedures before retaliating on the basis of a dispute panel authorising such action. The US has made an official complaint to the WTO but that only happened last week.

It will be many months until there is a ruling and even if China loses and fails to comply there will be a further delay before the US is given authority to retaliate. Will President Trump be willing to wait that long?

Unilateral action

So it is certainly possible that the US will jump the gun and decide to go ahead while the WTO process rumbles on. That would be hard to reconcile with the organisation’s rules.

At a WTO meeting last week Chinese officials warned that unilateral action by the US undermines the multilateral trading system and sets a very bad precedent.

China’s Ambassador Zhang Xiangchen told the meeting that member countries should act together to “lock this beast back into the cage of the WTO rules”.

Still, the fact that the US has started the dispute settlement process can be seen as a sign that the Trump administration sees the WTO as useful.

It is worth noting that China is striking its first retaliatory blows without a WTO ruling, though there is a way that can sometimes be done under the rules. It is however debateable whether that provision really applies in this case.

Still, the Trump Administration has a strikingly different tone on trade after its predecessor.

The economic nationalism that motivates President Trump and some of his team is disposed to see other countries as trading unfairly. It sees trade deficits as a sign of weakness, as an indication that trade agreements are defective and unfair.

It is true that President Trump has fired the most influential voice pressing this approach, his former chief strategist Steve Bannon. But the disagreements that led to that were not about trade.

And there are others of similar view still in key positions for trade policy. His Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (who is in charge of negotiating trade deals) and the president’s trade adviser, Peter Navarro, director of the National Trade Council are all from that mould.


Global Trade

More from the BBC’s series taking an international perspective on trade:

  • Markets edgy on US-China trade war fears
  • Trump announces tariffs on $60bn in Chinese imports
  • Brexit boost for consumers short-lived says IFS
  • US retail giants ask Trump to reconsider China tariffs
  • UK to seek exemption from US steel tariffs

    Mr Bannon’s departure did not reflect a disagreement over the economic nationalist agenda. But the resignation of Gary Cohn, as head of the National Economic Council did.

    Mr Cohn was someone seen as resisting that agenda in the administration. The firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reflected a number of disagreements with the President including the steel and aluminium tariffs.

    One of President Trump’s central views on trade is that other countries take advantage of the US. It is certainly true that US trade barriers are among the lowest. Tariffs – taxes applied to imports – are the easiest barrier to measure and average levels in the US are low. Not the lowest in the world as Mr Navarro has claimed.

    Hong Kong doesn’t have any at all and depending on how you calculate average tariffs several others are lower than the US. But certainly American tariffs are relatively low.

    There are some goods where American tariffs are high – known in the trade world as “tariff peaks”. There are some in excess of 100% for agricultural products and there is a 25% duty on light trucks.

    Does that mean other countries are taking advantage of the US? It’s debateable. The mainstream view among trade economists is that the main losers from tariffs are buyers of the affected goods in the country that imposes them.

    Main beneficiary

    They have to pay more, either because they buy imports from a supplier that has to recover the cost of the tariffs or from a domestic supplier who is able to raise their prices as result of the protection afforded by the tariffs.

    And sometimes the buyers of the affected goods are businesses that use them as inputs. Steel and aluminium are cases in point.

    So there is a case that would be supported by many trade economists that the main beneficiary of low US tariffs is the US itself, particularly American consumers.

    But President Trump’s focus has been on producers – firms and employees – who see themselves as being hit by low cost, and they argue, unfair foreign competition especially from China.

Trump threatens further $100bn in tariffs against China

US President Donald Trump has instructed officials to consider a further $100bn (£71.3bn) of tariffs against China, in an escalation of a tense trade stand-off.

These would be in addition to the $50bn worth of US tariffs already proposed on hundreds of Chinese imports.

China’s Ministry of Commerce responded, saying China would “not hesitate to pay any price” to defend its interests.

Tit-for-tat trade moves have unsettled global markets in recent weeks.

The latest US proposal came after China threatened tariffs on 106 key US products.

In response to Mr Trump’s latest announcement, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said: “China and the US as two world powers should treat each other on a basis of equality and with respect.

“By waving a big stick of trade sanctions against China, the US has picked a wrong target.”

Ministry of Commerce Spokesman Gao Feng said: “We do not want to fight, but we are not afraid to fight a trade war.”

He said that if the US side ignores opposition from China and the international community and insists on “unilateralist and protectionist acts,” then China will “not hesitate to pay any price, and will definitely strike back resolutely… [to] defend the interests of the country and its people.”

Analysts have warned of the risk of a full-blown trade war for the global economy and the markets, and believe ongoing behind-the-scenes negotiations between the two giants are crucial.

Market reaction in Asia on Friday suggested investors were relatively untroubled by the latest twist in the trade row. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose more than 1% while Japan’s Nikkei index edged lower.

How has this unfolded?

Earlier this year, the US announced it would impose import taxes of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium. The tariffs were to be wide-ranging and would include China.

China responded last month with retaliatory tariffs worth $3bn of its own against the US on a range of goods, including pork and wine. Beijing said the move was intended to safeguard its interests and balance losses caused by the new tariffs.

Then the US announced it was imposing some $50bn worth of tariffs on Chinese-made goods, blaming what it described as unfair Chinese intellectual property practices, such as those that pressured US companies to share technology with Chinese firms.

Mr Trump argues that because Beijing forces any US firms setting up shop in China to tie up with a Chinese company, US ideas are left open to theft and abuse.

Mr Trump reiterated in his statement on Thursday that China’s “illicit trade practices” had been ignored by Washington for years and had destroyed “thousands of American factories and millions of American jobs”.

The draft details of the $50bn to $60bn worth of tariffs were released last week when Washington set out about 1,300 Chinese products it intended to hit with tariffs set at 25%.

China responded this week by proposing retaliatory tariffs, also worth some $50bn, on 106 key US products, including soybeans, aircraft parts and orange juice. This set of tariffs was narrowly aimed at politically important sectors in the US, such as agriculture.

In Mr Trump’s Thursday statement he branded that retaliation by Beijing as “unfair”.

“Rather than remedy its misconduct, China has chosen to harm our farmers and manufacturers,” he said.

“In light of China’s unfair retaliation, I have instructed the USTR (United States Trade Representative) to consider whether $100bn of additional tariffs would be appropriate… and, if so, to identify the products upon which to impose such tariffs.”

He said he had also instructed agricultural officials to implement a plan to protect US farmers and agricultural interests.

What could the impact be?

On the political front, Mr Trump’s latest announcement has elicited a less-than-friendly reception from some fellow Republicans.

They have warned that the tariffs will hurt Americans and cost jobs. They have also said relationships the US has with its other big trading partners could be hurt.

US retail giants including Walmart and Target have also asked Mr Trump to consider carefully the impact the tariffs would have on consumer prices and American families.

On Thursday, Ben Sasse, a Republican Senator from the farming area of Nebraska, said Mr Trump’s latest plan was “nuts” and that he hoped the president was “just blowing off steam”.

“Let’s absolutely take on Chinese bad behaviour, but with a plan that punishes them instead of us,” he said.

“This is the dumbest possible way to do this.”

Mr Sasse’s comments echo sentiment pouring out of various Republican-voting farming belts in the US. America’s soybean farmers are expected to be particularly hurt by Mr Trump’s tariff tactics.

To get a sense of how things might play out for those farmers, the trade tit-for-tat could hit soybean producers in the US – and possibly around the world.

China, which is a big producer of soybeans itself, buys about 60% of all soybeans exported by the US.

It uses the product to feed farmed animals, including pigs and chickens, as well as fish. Those animals are in turn used to help feed China’s enormous population.

China’s demand for soybeans and soybean products has buoyed the price of US soybeans for some time.

  • Five reasons why trade wars aren’t easy to win
  • Not a trade ‘war’ but a trade ‘dance’
  • Why China won’t baulk at US tariff threat

    But Beijing’s tariffs against US soybeans will mostly likely see sales to China fall off, which will in turn hurt American farmers.

    Meanwhile, China will need to set about sourcing the extra soybeans it needs from other countries.

    India is one of the world’s biggest soybean producers, and analysts there have already pointed to a potential trade war between the US and China as an opportunity for its economy.

    Other big soybean producers are Argentina and Brazil, and some studies suggest that is where China will turn to should the current set of proposed tariffs come into force.

    But it could end up paying more than it currently does, ultimately forcing up the price of those animals which eat soybean products. So that would mean pork, for example, China’s most popular meat, could get more expensive. And food price inflation is something that will worry Beijing.

    Beijing Deals

    What China sells to the US

    $462.6bn

    The value of of goods bought by the US from China in 2016.

    • 18.2% of all China's exports go to the United States

    • $129bn worth of China-made electrical machinery bought by US

    • 59.2% growth in Chinese services imported by US between 2006 & 2016

    • $347bn US goods trade deficit with China

      CIA Factbook; USTR. All data for 2016. Getty Images

      How long could this last?

      China has initiated a complaint with the World Trade Organization over the US tariffs, in what analysts say is a sign that this will be a protracted process.

      The WTO circulated the request for consultation to members on Thursday, launching a discussion period before the complaint heads to formal dispute settlement process.

      Meanwhile, under US law, the proposed set of tariffs against about 1,300 Chinese products must now go under review, including a public notice and comment process, and a hearing.

      The hearing is scheduled at the moment for 15 May, with post-hearing filings due a week later.

      So, it could be some months before the USTR will announce its final findings or any decision on whether or not it will move ahead with the proposed tariffs.

US trade deficit widens in February

America’s trade deficit widened in February as its international trade hit a monthly record.

The deficit was $57.6bn – the largest monthly gap between exports and imports of goods and services since 2008, the US Commerce Department said.

The figures come as President Donald Trump tries a variety of tactics to reset the balance between US imports and exports.

The deficit was larger than analysts predicted, as imports of services rose.

That reflected payments made to broadcast the 2018 Olympic Games, the Commerce Department said.

Overall, February imports were $262bn, rising 1.7% from January amid ramped up spending on items such as civilian aircraft, computers and food.

Exports also rose 1.7%, reaching $204.4bn over the month, driven by sales of oil and natural gas and automotive vehicles.

The US recorded a monthly deficit in goods – the focus of much of President Trump’s attention – with most countries, led by China at $34.7bn. However the gap with China shrank 2.3% from January.

Wells Fargo analysts said they expect to see exports and imports grow in coming months, with strong domestic demand leading to further widening of the deficit.

  • Trump worries about the trade deficit – should we?
  • Wall Street recovers from trade war fears

    However, they wrote that the rising trade tension between the US and China, which have each announced plans for tariffs on $50bn of the other’s goods, are a “potential fly in that ointment”.

    “A full-blown trade war between the world’s two largest economies, should one develop, probably would not cause American exports and imports to go into reverse, but it could weaken growth in trade,” they wrote.

    China has initiated a complaint with the World Trade Organisation over the US plans to impose a 25% tax on Chinese-made imports worth about $50bn for what the White House says are unfair intellectual property practices.

    The WTO circulated the request for consultation to members on Thursday, launching a discussion period before the complaint heads to formal dispute settlement process.

    Mr Trump has said he wants America’s deficit with China to decline by $100bn.

    Economists say focusing on deficits, rather than total trade, is misplaced.

Stormy Daniels ‘told to leave Trump alone’ over affair claims

An adult film actress has said she was threatened to keep quiet about an alleged sexual encounter with Donald Trump in 2006.

Stormy Daniels told CBS News’ 60 Minutes programme that a man approached her in a Las Vegas car park in 2011.

The stranger allegedly said “leave Trump alone”, then looked at her young daughter and added: “It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.”

Mr Trump denies having had an affair with the actress.

His lawyers are seeking $20m (£14m) in damages from her, saying she broke a non-disclosure deal signed before the 2016 presidential election.

  • The president and the porn star: Why this matters
  • Ex-model apologises for ‘Trump affair’

    What exactly did Stormy Daniels say?

    In the highly anticipated interview, which aired on Sunday evening, Stormy Daniels said she was approached by the man in the car park in 2011 after having agreed to sell her story to a magazine.

    But the magazine did not publish the story after legal threats from Donald Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, 60 Minutes reported, citing former employees. The interview was finally published in InTouch magazine earlier this year.

    “I was in a parking lot, going to a fitness class with my infant daughter,” she said.

    “A guy walked up on me and said to me, ‘Leave Trump alone. Forget the story’. And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, ‘That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom’. And then he was gone.”

    President Trump has not directly responded to the interview but tweeted on Monday about “fake news”.

    After the programme aired, a lawyer representing Mr Cohen said he had nothing to do with the alleged threat, accused the actress and her lawyer of defaming him and demanded a public apology.

    Skip Twitter post by @realDonaldTrump

    So much Fake News. Never been more voluminous or more inaccurate. But through it all, our country is doing great!

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 26, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @realDonaldTrump

    What is alleged to have happened in 2006?

    Stormy Daniels told CBS that her only sexual encounter with Mr Trump took place after he invited her to dinner in his hotel suite.

    She said he had shown her a magazine with his picture on the cover and she had jokingly smacked his bottom with it.

    “He turned around and pulled his pants down a little, you know [he] had underwear on and stuff, and I just gave him a couple swats,” she said.

    After they talked for a while, Mr Trump allegedly told her, “You remind me of my daughter”. Stormy Daniels was 27 at the time.

    “You know – he was like, ‘You’re smart and beautiful, and a woman to be reckoned with, and I like you. I like you,” she said.

    • Read the full transcript

      She said that although she had not been attracted to Mr Trump, she had had unprotected sex with him, adding: “I didn’t say no. I’m not a victim.”

      Mr Trump, she added, had suggested she might appear in his TV game show, The Apprentice, and she thought of the encounter “as a business deal”.

      Stormy Daniels’ lawyer has suggested they have evidence of the affair but when asked if any videos, text messages, emails or pictures exist, she said: “I can’t answer that right now.”

      What about the money?

      Stormy Daniels told CBS she later accepted $130,000 in “hush money” from Mr Cohen just before the 2016 election because she was concerned for the safety of her family.

      Mr Cohen confirmed in February he had privately paid her the money but did not say what it was for. Mr Trump’s critics have suggested the money might amount to an illicit campaign contribution.

      Mr Cohen said last month that neither the Trump campaign nor the Trump Organization were parties to the transaction.

      Stormy Daniels told 60 Minutes she was risking a million-dollar fine by breaking the agreement and speaking out on national television “because it was very important to me to be able to defend myself”.

      Why does this matter?

      Given Mr Trump has been accused of sexual misconduct, infidelity and infamously boasted about grabbing women’s genitals, there have been questions asked about why this particular scandal matters, when it involves what Ms Daniels says was consensual sex.

      But Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, told the BBC his client’s case was different to others’ because of “acts of intimidation and the tactics that have been used to silence my client”.

      • ‘Mere allegations’ wrecking lives – Trump

        “I think that is very problematic and it should be very disturbing to not only the American people but anyone in western civilisation,” he added.

        “That is not how people in power should conduct themselves.” It is also believed that Mr Trump could be called to testify in depositions if Stormy Daniels’ court case proceeds.

        Who else is accusing Mr Trump?

        Stormy Daniels is one of three women who have taken legal action that could damage Mr Trump.

        Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who claims she had an affair with Mr Trump between 2006 and 2007, has filed a lawsuit to invalidate a confidentiality agreement with tabloid newspaper the National Enquirer.

        She says she was paid for her story but the newspaper – published by a company run by a friend of President Trump – never ran it.

        Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, accuses Mr Trump of sexually assaulting her at a Beverly Hills hotel in 2007.

        Ms Zervos says that he groped her and “began thrusting his genitals” during a meeting to discuss employment opportunities.

        While president-elect, Mr Trump dismissed the allegations against him and said that Ms Zervos and other accusers were “sick” and driven by fame, money or politics.

        Ms Zervos filed a defamation law suit against Mr Trump in January 2017, but his lawyers argued that as the president he could not be sued.

        A judge in New York has now overturned that decision.

Trump trade war: China tells US it will defend national interests

China warned the US it will defend its interests on trade, Chinese state media says, after US President Donald Trump backed tariffs on Chinese goods.

The comments came in a phone call between China’s vice-premier Liu He and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Mr Trump has announced plans to impose tariffs on up to $60bn (£42.5bn) of Chinese goods, accusing China of intellectual property theft.

The move has rattled markets and stoked fears of a trade war.

Mr Liu, who is Chinese President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, told Mr Mnuchin that Beijing was “ready to defend its national interests” but hoped that “both sides will remain rational and work together,” China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.

During the telephone conversation, which is thought to be the highest-level contact between the two governments since Mr Trump announced the tariffs on Thursday, Mr Liu also accused the US of violating international trade rules following its investigation into Chinese intellectual property practices.

  • What is a trade war – and how would it affect me?
  • Trump: Tariffs on $60bn in Chinese goods
  • What could China do in a US trade war?

    Amid the tensions on trade, World Trade Organization Director General Roberto Azevêdo has warned that new trade barriers would “jeopardise the global economy”.

    Mr Trump, however, has said that the US move to raise tariffs against China was already beginning to get results.

    “Many other countries are now negotiating fair trade deals with us,” the president said on Friday.

    Following Mr Trump’s move, China said it was planning to retaliate with its own set of proposed tariffs worth $3bn, including tariffs on groceries and aluminium scrap.

    Beijing has warned the US that it is “not afraid of a trade war”, but has said that it hopes to avoid one through continued dialogue.

Trump trade war: China tells US it will defend national interests

China warned the US it will defend its interests on trade, Chinese state media says, after US President Donald Trump backed tariffs on Chinese goods.

The comments came in a phone call between China’s vice-premier Liu He and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Mr Trump has announced plans to impose tariffs on up to $60bn (£42.5bn) of Chinese goods, accusing China of intellectual property theft.

The move has rattled markets and stoked fears of a trade war.

Mr Liu, who is Chinese President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, told Mr Mnuchin that Beijing was “ready to defend its national interests” but hoped that “both sides will remain rational and work together,” China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.

During the telephone conversation, which is thought to be the highest-level contact between the two governments since Mr Trump announced the tariffs on Thursday, Mr Liu also accused the US of violating international trade rules following its investigation into Chinese intellectual property practices.

  • What is a trade war – and how would it affect me?
  • Trump: Tariffs on $60bn in Chinese goods
  • What could China do in a US trade war?

    Amid the tensions on trade, World Trade Organization Director General Roberto Azevêdo has warned that new trade barriers would “jeopardise the global economy”.

    Mr Trump, however, has said that the US move to raise tariffs against China was already beginning to get results.

    “Many other countries are now negotiating fair trade deals with us,” the president said on Friday.

    Following Mr Trump’s move, China said it was planning to retaliate with its own set of proposed tariffs worth $3bn, including tariffs on groceries and aluminium scrap.

    Beijing has warned the US that it is “not afraid of a trade war”, but has said that it hopes to avoid one through continued dialogue.

Cynthia Nixon and 10 other celebrities who entered politics

Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon announced on Monday she will run for governor of New York, challenging incumbent Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic nomination.

It follows the announcement last month that Clueless actress Stacey Dash is running for congress in California on a Republican ticket.

Plenty of famous faces have campaigned for candidates in the past – but why do so many celebrities decide to enter politics themselves?

“The facts show that people like Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump have had great success in politics,” says Dr Sharon Coen, senior lecturer in media psychology at the University of Salford.

“If they are already in the public eye, they are already present on people’s radar – we feel like we’re friends with them, or a version of them.

“This increases the feelings of likeability, familiarity and trust – which are all key factors that are determinant in the success of a political candidate.”

In addition, Dr Coen says the backgrounds of many actors and celebrities in performance make them particularly suited to the political sphere.

“These individuals are trained to communicate effectively with audiences. And research shows non-verbal skills are just as important, when it comes to voters, as what people actually say.”

Another key factor is already being in the limelight. “Politicians frequently say they feel like they are under siege by the media,” Dr Coen explains.

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    “This means normal people who may have the calling to go into politics, who actually care about society, and who want to make a change are discouraged by this.

    “What stops them is the toll that they – and the people close to them – would have to pay. Celebrities already know how to deal with this and have developed strategies to help them cope. I sincerely believe politicians should have training in this area too.”

    Many celebrities who don’t necessarily become politicians themselves are often keen to make their political beliefs known, sometimes by actively campaigning for a particular candidate.

    Katy Perry and Beyonce were among those to openly back Hillary Clinton during the US presidential election of 2016.

    But Matteo Bergamini, from the political advocacy Shout Out UK, argues that relying on celebrities to make politics more “attractive” to young people is a “tired trope”.

    Writing for the Huffington Post, he claims it “perpetuates the myth that young people are simply not interested enough in their own futures to get involved unless someone wraps it up in a shiny bow. Surely our young people deserve more credit than that?”

    So, is it a good idea for celebrities to dabble in politics, and how many have managed to make the transition?

    Here are just some of the celebrities who have turned their hand to politics – some more successfully than others…


    1. Arnold Schwarzenegger

    Famous for:

    The young Austrian bodybuilder won Mr Universe, aged just 20. He went on to star in numerous films – most famously the Terminator franchise.

    Career in politics:

    Was elected Governor of California in 2003, serving two terms.

    Nickname:

    Arnie, The Governator.


    2. Katie Price

    Famous for:

    Her surgically-enhanced glamour modelling career. Her numerous marriages. Being a best-selling author. Coming runner-up in the selection process to represent the UK at the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest. Her outspoken comments on just about everything.

    Career in politics:

    She pledged free plastic surgery for all, more nudist beaches and a ban on parking tickets in her campaign as an independent candidate in the Manchester seat of Stretford and Urmston in 2001.

    Despite promising “a bigger, betta [sic] future”, Ms Price won just 713 votes and lost her deposit.

    Key quote:

    “I know it will take a big swing but there’s no bigger swinger than me,” said Price in 2001.


    3. Manny Pacquiao

    Famous for:

    World champion boxer who won 11 major world titles – and the first in history to do so across four weight classes of boxing: flyweight, featherweight, lightweight and welterweight.

    Career in politics:

    Pacquiao was elected to the Philippines House of Representatives in 2010. In 2016 he was elected as a senator.

    Nickname:

    Pac Man, The Destroyer.


    4. Ronald Reagan

    Famous for:

    Film actor who starred in westerns, including Santa Fe Trail with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, and the Oscar-nominated King’s Row.

    Career in politics:

    Hollywood actor Reagan went on to serve first as governor of California and then as US president from 1981 to 1989.

    Nickname:

    The Great Communicator. His Secret Service codename was “Raw Hide”.


    5. Glenda Jackson

    Famous for:

    Jackson won two best actress Oscars over a 30-year career for Women in Love and A Touch of Class. She also received an Emmy for the TV drama Elizabeth R.

    Career in politics:

    Elected Labour MP for Hampstead and Highgate in 1992, she became a junior minister in Tony Blair’s 1997 government. Jackson stood down at the 2015 election, saying it was time for someone else to have a turn – and declared she would return to acting.

    Key quote:

    “The important thing in acting is to be able to laugh and cry. If I have to laugh, I think of my sex life. If I have to cry, I think of my sex life.”


    6. Al Murray

    Famous for:

    Being a regular on the stand-up and television satire circuits. Murray’s outspoken character The Pub Landlord was featured in many comedy sketch shows before the British comedian landed his own chat show, Al Murray’s Happy Hour.

    Career in politics:

    Murray announced he would run in the 2015 election in the South Thanet constituency – the same seat being contested by UKIP leader Nigel Farage. He won just 318 votes.

    Key quote:

    “It seems to me that the UK is ready for a bloke waving a pint around, offering commonsense solutions.”


    7. Imran Khan

    Famous for:

    Being a Test cricket fast bowler for Pakistan. In 1992 Khan led his team to victory in the Cricket World Cup, defeating England – it’s the only time Pakistan has won the competition. He’s also known for marrying socialite Jemima Goldsmith.

    Career in politics:

    In 1996, Khan founded the political party PTI in Pakistan.

    He was defeated in the 2013 elections, but Khan says he still wants to fulfil his ambition of becoming Pakistan’s next prime minister following parliamentary elections, due in July this year.

    Nickname:

    The Lion of Lahore.

    8. Wyclef Jean

    Famous for:

    The Haitian rapper/singer/producer won three Grammys as part of hip-hop group The Fugees. He went on to have a successful solo career.

    Career in politics:

    In 2010, after helping with the earthquake relief effort, Wyclef formally filed papers as a candidate for the Haitian presidential election.

    He was disqualified, however, after it emerged he did not fulfil the residency requirement of living in the country for five years before the election.

    Key quote:

    “It was important that I became successful. People say they do it for the love, and yes, you do it for the love, but you want to be successful.”

    9. Shirley Temple

    Famous for:

    Finding international fame, at the age of seven, in Bright Eyes and becoming the first child star to be honoured with a miniature Juvenile Oscar for her film accomplishments in 1935.

    Career in politics:

    The actress ran unsuccessfully for congress in 1967. She was appointed US ambassador to Ghana in 1974 and to Czechoslovakia in 1989.

    Key quote:

    “I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.”


    And of course not forgetting…

    10. Donald Trump

    Famous for:

    Firing dozens of unsuccessful candidates in the US version of The Apprentice. Golf courses. Trump University.

    Career in politics:

    Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States of America without any prior political qualification.

    Nicknames used by him:

    Crooked Hillary – Hillary Clinton. Rocket Man – Kim Jong-un. Pocahontas – US senator Elizabeth Warren.


    Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.

Cynthia Nixon and 10 other celebrities who entered politics

Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon announced on Monday she will run for governor of New York, challenging incumbent Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic nomination.

It follows the announcement last month that Clueless actress Stacey Dash is running for congress in California on a Republican ticket.

Plenty of famous faces have campaigned for candidates in the past – but why do so many celebrities decide to enter politics themselves?

“The facts show that people like Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump have had great success in politics,” says Dr Sharon Coen, senior lecturer in media psychology at the University of Salford.

“If they are already in the public eye, they are already present on people’s radar – we feel like we’re friends with them, or a version of them.

“This increases the feelings of likeability, familiarity and trust – which are all key factors that are determinant in the success of a political candidate.”

In addition, Dr Coen says the backgrounds of many actors and celebrities in performance make them particularly suited to the political sphere.

“These individuals are trained to communicate effectively with audiences. And research shows non-verbal skills are just as important, when it comes to voters, as what people actually say.”

Another key factor is already being in the limelight. “Politicians frequently say they feel like they are under siege by the media,” Dr Coen explains.

  • Celebrity support in UK and US election campaigns
  • Oprah not interested in presidential bid
  • Celebs and politics: It rarely works

    “This means normal people who may have the calling to go into politics, who actually care about society, and who want to make a change are discouraged by this.

    “What stops them is the toll that they – and the people close to them – would have to pay. Celebrities already know how to deal with this and have developed strategies to help them cope. I sincerely believe politicians should have training in this area too.”

    Many celebrities who don’t necessarily become politicians themselves are often keen to make their political beliefs known, sometimes by actively campaigning for a particular candidate.

    Katy Perry and Beyonce were among those to openly back Hillary Clinton during the US presidential election of 2016.

    But Matteo Bergamini, from the political advocacy Shout Out UK, argues that relying on celebrities to make politics more “attractive” to young people is a “tired trope”.

    Writing for the Huffington Post, he claims it “perpetuates the myth that young people are simply not interested enough in their own futures to get involved unless someone wraps it up in a shiny bow. Surely our young people deserve more credit than that?”

    So, is it a good idea for celebrities to dabble in politics, and how many have managed to make the transition?

    Here are just some of the celebrities who have turned their hand to politics – some more successfully than others…


    1. Arnold Schwarzenegger

    Famous for:

    The young Austrian bodybuilder won Mr Universe, aged just 20. He went on to star in numerous films – most famously the Terminator franchise.

    Career in politics:

    Was elected Governor of California in 2003, serving two terms.

    Nickname:

    Arnie, The Governator.


    2. Katie Price

    Famous for:

    Her surgically-enhanced glamour modelling career. Her numerous marriages. Being a best-selling author. Coming runner-up in the selection process to represent the UK at the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest. Her outspoken comments on just about everything.

    Career in politics:

    She pledged free plastic surgery for all, more nudist beaches and a ban on parking tickets in her campaign as an independent candidate in the Manchester seat of Stretford and Urmston in 2001.

    Despite promising “a bigger, betta [sic] future”, Ms Price won just 713 votes and lost her deposit.

    Key quote:

    “I know it will take a big swing but there’s no bigger swinger than me,” said Price in 2001.


    3. Manny Pacquiao

    Famous for:

    World champion boxer who won 11 major world titles – and the first in history to do so across four weight classes of boxing: flyweight, featherweight, lightweight and welterweight.

    Career in politics:

    Pacquiao was elected to the Philippines House of Representatives in 2010. In 2016 he was elected as a senator.

    Nickname:

    Pac Man, The Destroyer.


    4. Ronald Reagan

    Famous for:

    Film actor who starred in westerns, including Santa Fe Trail with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, and the Oscar-nominated King’s Row.

    Career in politics:

    Hollywood actor Reagan went on to serve first as governor of California and then as US president from 1981 to 1989.

    Nickname:

    The Great Communicator. His Secret Service codename was “Raw Hide”.


    5. Glenda Jackson

    Famous for:

    Jackson won two best actress Oscars over a 30-year career for Women in Love and A Touch of Class. She also received an Emmy for the TV drama Elizabeth R.

    Career in politics:

    Elected Labour MP for Hampstead and Highgate in 1992, she became a junior minister in Tony Blair’s 1997 government. Jackson stood down at the 2015 election, saying it was time for someone else to have a turn – and declared she would return to acting.

    Key quote:

    “The important thing in acting is to be able to laugh and cry. If I have to laugh, I think of my sex life. If I have to cry, I think of my sex life.”


    6. Al Murray

    Famous for:

    Being a regular on the stand-up and television satire circuits. Murray’s outspoken character The Pub Landlord was featured in many comedy sketch shows before the British comedian landed his own chat show, Al Murray’s Happy Hour.

    Career in politics:

    Murray announced he would run in the 2015 election in the South Thanet constituency – the same seat being contested by UKIP leader Nigel Farage. He won just 318 votes.

    Key quote:

    “It seems to me that the UK is ready for a bloke waving a pint around, offering commonsense solutions.”


    7. Imran Khan

    Famous for:

    Being a Test cricket fast bowler for Pakistan. In 1992 Khan led his team to victory in the Cricket World Cup, defeating England – it’s the only time Pakistan has won the competition. He’s also known for marrying socialite Jemima Goldsmith.

    Career in politics:

    In 1996, Khan founded the political party PTI in Pakistan.

    He was defeated in the 2013 elections, but Khan says he still wants to fulfil his ambition of becoming Pakistan’s next prime minister following parliamentary elections, due in July this year.

    Nickname:

    The Lion of Lahore.

    8. Wyclef Jean

    Famous for:

    The Haitian rapper/singer/producer won three Grammys as part of hip-hop group The Fugees. He went on to have a successful solo career.

    Career in politics:

    In 2010, after helping with the earthquake relief effort, Wyclef formally filed papers as a candidate for the Haitian presidential election.

    He was disqualified, however, after it emerged he did not fulfil the residency requirement of living in the country for five years before the election.

    Key quote:

    “It was important that I became successful. People say they do it for the love, and yes, you do it for the love, but you want to be successful.”

    9. Shirley Temple

    Famous for:

    Finding international fame, at the age of seven, in Bright Eyes and becoming the first child star to be honoured with a miniature Juvenile Oscar for her film accomplishments in 1935.

    Career in politics:

    The actress ran unsuccessfully for congress in 1967. She was appointed US ambassador to Ghana in 1974 and to Czechoslovakia in 1989.

    Key quote:

    “I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.”


    And of course not forgetting…

    10. Donald Trump

    Famous for:

    Firing dozens of unsuccessful candidates in the US version of The Apprentice. Golf courses. Trump University.

    Career in politics:

    Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States of America without any prior political qualification.

    Nicknames used by him:

    Crooked Hillary – Hillary Clinton. Rocket Man – Kim Jong-un. Pocahontas – US senator Elizabeth Warren.


    Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.

Five reasons why trade wars aren’t easy to win

What happens now that President Donald Trump has said he will move forward with tariffs on steel and aluminium products?

Analysts are warning of a trade war, as officials from Europe, Asia and Latin America threaten retaliation.

Mr Trump predicted it would be “easy” for the US to win.

But most economists and trade experts reject that view, saying every country, including the US, stands to lose in the event of a serious trade fight.

“If what we’re talking about is who gets hurt the least, that would probably be the United States, but all countries get hurt in a trade war,” says Edward Alden, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Here’s why “winning” might not be so easy for the US.

1. Tariffs may not actually boost steel and aluminium jobs much

Mr Trump promoted his decision as a win for the steel and aluminium industries and said he expects investment and hiring to follow.

  • Trump steel tariffs: European Union gears up for trade war
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    But technological changes have made the industry less labour intensive. Historians say previous efforts to protect steel jobs have been largely ineffective.

    The companies present at Mr Trump’s announcement did not respond to BBC inquiries about potential expansions.

    A 2002 analysis by the Peterson Institute for International Economics of proposed tariffs predicted the measures would “save” just 3,500 jobs.

    2. Tariffs are likely to raise costs in the US

    Today, the steel industry estimates that it employs about 140,000 people – far fewer than in the sectors that rely on it.

    Criticism of the tariffs from those firms was immediate. For example, the National Retail Federation blasted it as a “tax on American families”.

    US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said companies were over-reacting, but Mr Alden says the economic costs will be serious.

    The Charlotte Observer reports that Electrolux, manufacturer of washing machines and cookers, has already put on hold an expansion planned for Tennessee.

    3. Tariffs could hurt allies and prompt retaliation

    Individual industries and countries – especially places that are already negotiating wider trade deals such as Canada – will be lobbying furiously in the coming days for exemptions from the final tariffs.

    Absent that, analysts say they expect retaliation – and a broader weakening of the global free trade system.

    Countries could complain to the World Trade Organisation, but such cases take years and Mr Trump has been dismissive of that body.

    Moreover, WTO judges may be hesitant to second-guess the rarely used “national security” rationale the US has used to justify the tariffs, says Columbia Law professor Petros Mavroidis.

    Those factors make unilateral retaliatory tariffs more likely, he says. Such actions, which are expected to target industries in politically sensitive US states, could be in place within a year, he says.

    4. China has options

    The US blames China for flooding the market with cheap steel and aluminium and has already stepped up protective measures against Chinese steel products.

    Mr Trump says wider tariffs are necessary to stop Chinese steel appearing in the US via other countries.

    But US businesses, including those in the car, tech and agriculture industries, are eager to get into the Chinese market, giving leaders there some leverage.

    5. The domestic political consequences are unclear

    Mr Trump isn’t unique among US presidents in using trade policy to protect politically strategic industries.

    But how beneficial such actions are is difficult to decipher, given the time lag between the decisions and elections, says Kenneth Lowande, a research fellow at Princeton University’s Center for the Study of Democratic Politics.

    At the moment, Democrats are the most vocal defenders of the president.