Donald Trump. Picture: REUTERS
Donald Trump. Picture: REUTERS

Washington — US President Donald Trump said he’s "ready to go" with $500bn worth of new tariffs on Chinese goods imported to the US, saying the country has been taken advantage of for too long.

"I’m not doing this for politics. I’m doing this to do the right thing for our country," Trump said in a CNBC interview aired on Friday. "We are being taken advantage of and I don’t like it."

The $500bn would be roughly the value of Chinese goods imported into the US last year.

US equity futures turned, as did European stocks, on Trump’s threat. Futures on the S&P 500 Index fell as much as 0.4%.

Trump’s comments come as the world’s two biggest economies are in a deepening impasse over allegations of unfair trade. China accused US officials of making false accusations on Thursday as it fired back against a claim that President Xi Jinping is blocking talks with the US over the trade war between both nations. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Xi doesn’t haven’t any intention of agreeing on trade with the US.

Earlier this month, Trump imposed 25% tariffs on $34bn of Chinese goods, with another $16bn to follow soon. His administration has also released a list of 10% tariffs on an additional $200bn worth of Chinese goods, which could take effect as early as next month.

China retaliated on the first wave of tariffs by slapping duties on the same dollar amount of US imports, and Beijing has said it’ll fight against any further US actions.

Trump authorised the tariffs after an investigation he ordered by the US trade representative’s office found that China was violating intellectual property rules and forcing American companies operating in China to hand over their technology secrets to gain access to the market. Last week, Chinese commerce ministry spokesperson Gao Feng called the accusations "groundless" and said that the US trade penalties contravene rules at the World Trade Organisation.