The Latest: Trump defends ordering companies to leave China

Posted at 10:33 PM, Aug 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-24 00:33:45-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China, the world's two largest economies (all times local):

12:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump is pushing back against those questioning whether he has the authority to order American companies to cut trade ties with China.

Trump on Friday morning tweeted that he "hereby ordered" U.S. companies to seek alternatives to doing business in China. The White House did not cite what authority the president could use to force private businesses to change their practices.

But at midnight, as he was flying to France, the president tweeted again, saying that those who "don't have a clue" about presidential powers should look at the Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977. He added, "Case closed!"

The law says the president is authorized "to regulate international commerce after declaring a national emergency" if there is an "extraordinary threat" to the nation.


6:55 p.m.

The Consumer Technology Association, a trade group that runs the annual Consumer Electronics Show, says "enough is enough" when it comes to escalating tariffs in the U.S. trade war with China.

The CTA said in a statement Friday that President Donald Trump's tariffs are the worst economic mistake since the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Act raised tariffs just as the world was sliding into the Great Depression.

The group says it is clear that tariffs are not moving the U.S. toward a deal with China, and that it is time to end the trade war and come to an agreement.

The CTA represents more than 2,200 companies in the technology industry.


5:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump says products coming from China that were slated to be hit with a 10% tariff on Sept. 1 will now face a 15% tariff.

Trump also says goods and products currently being taxed at 25% will be taxed at 30% starting Oct. 1.

Trump's comments come after China said it would pursue new tariffs of 5% and 10% on $75 billion of U.S. products.

The tariffs would take place in two steps, just as the U.S. said it would do earlier this month in imposing 10% tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods.

The rising tensions between the world's two biggest economies unnerved investors already on edge Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 623 points Friday as companies and business groups urged the two countries to get to the negotiating table.


3:45 p.m.

Two trade associations representing auto companies say the escalating tariff fight between the Trump administration and China is bad for the industry.

Neither the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers nor the Association of Global automakers, however, addressed President Donald Trump's tweet about finding markets other than China.

But the alliance says the tariffs are bad for consumers. It says the auto industry thrives with robust and competitive trading.

Association of Global Automakers CEO John Bozella says tit-for-tat tariffs without meaningful negotiations put American jobs at risk.

He says when China imposed tariffs last year, U.S. vehicle exports to the country were cut in half.

The alliance represents most major automakers, while the global group speaks for manufacturers such as Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan and Subaru.


2:30 p.m.

The nation's largest retail trade group says that it would be unrealistic for U.S. retailers to exit China.

The National Retail Federation made its comment in response to President Donald Trump's call Friday for U.S. businesses with operations in China to look for alternatives, as trade tensions between the world's two largest economies intensified.

The NRF noted that its members have long been diversifying their supply chains but finding alternatives to China would be costly and take years.

"It is unrealistic for American retailers to move out of the world's second largest economy," said NRF Senior Vice President of Government Relations David French. He noted that retailers' presence in China allows them to reach Chinese customers and also develop overseas markets.

"This, in turn, allows us to grow and expand opportunities for American workers, businesses and consumers," French said in a prepared statement.


1:55 p.m.

Small business owners are baffled by President Donald Trump's suggestion that all U.S. businesses with operations in China find an alternative.

Trump lashed out at Beijing Friday after it announced retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion in U.S. products.

Peter Horwitz, the owner of Tiger Packaging, a paper and plastic products supplier based in Boca Raton, Florida, says there are supplies that he can get only in China, like vinyl gloves.

He says we're living in a global economy and it makes bad business sense to cut out the world's second largest economy in China.


1:35 p.m.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is urging the Trump administration and Beijing to return to the negotiating table with trade tensions escalating rapidly.

China on Friday said that it was putting into place tariffs on $75 billion in U.S. products in retaliation for the Trump administration's latest planned tariff hikes.

President Donald Trump lashed out at China and on Twitter is urging U.S. companies to consider an alternative to doing business in China.

The business group said, "We do not want to see a further deterioration of US-China relations. We urge the administration and the government of China to return to the negotiating table to complete an agreement that addresses concerns over technology transfer practices, intellectual property enforcement, market access, and the globally damaging impact of Chinese domestic subsidies."


11:46 a.m.

Stocks are falling sharply on Wall Street after President Donald Trump said he would respond to China's latest tariff increase and called on U.S. companies to consider alternatives to doing business in China.

Trump on Friday also ordered UPS, Federal Express and Amazon to block any deliveries from China of the powerful opiod drug fentanyl.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank more than 300 points after the president made the announcements on Twitter.

The stocks of all three companies the president mentioned also dropped as traders tried to understand what the implications for them were.

Stocks had been wavering between gains and losses earlier after China said it would retaliate against the latest round of tariffs imposed by Washington with duties on $75 billion of U.S. products.


11:30 a.m

President Donald Trump says he wants U.S. companies with operations in China to begin looking for alternatives in response to retaliatory tariffs from Beijing.

Trump on Friday said that he will respond in hours to an announcement Friday that China was retaliating to U.S. tariffs with a slate of its own protective measures.

Trump is also ordering Fed Ex, Amazon, UPS and the U.S Postal Service to begin searching for fentanyl in all packages from China.

Early on Friday, China said it would put into place tariffs on $75 billion in U.S. products in retaliation for the Trump administration's latest planned tariff hikes.


10:10 a.m.

China is putting into place tariffs on $75 billion in U.S. products in retaliation for the Trump administration's latest planned tariff hikes.

China said Friday that it will also increase import duties on U.S.-made autos and auto parts. The retaliation pulled global markets into negative territory

Tariffs of 10% and 5% will take effect on two batches of goods on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15. Beijing gave no details of what goods would be affected but the timing matches Trump's planned hikes.