'Made in China' flags for Trump's 2020 poll campaign?

U.S. cargo ship carrying soybeans in race to beat China's retaliatory tariffs

President Donald Trump is already threatening additional rounds of tariffs, possibly targeting more than $500 billion worth of Chinese goods - roughly the total amount of USA imports from China past year.

Signs of nervousness about the trade outlook were evident elsewhere in global markets with the Japanese yen and the Swiss franc firm against the dollar while core US and German bonds were in demand.

Trump has railed against Beijing for intellectual property theft and barriers to entry for United States businesses and a $375 billion USA trade deficit with China.

The negotiations began in August but have stalled over US demands created to discourage investment in Mexico and to shift auto production back to the United States.

China on Friday said it had imposed retaliatory measures on USA goods immediately after Washington implemented tariff measures on Chinese goods, a Chinese official said.

Beijing said that it has put into action a series of retaliatory actions against United States trade which became effective the moment Trump's decision was enforced.

Local customs at the port of Qingdao have let through American products they held up on Friday, and imposed higher tariffs on the goods, according to a trader briefed by a customs official at the port.

Abraham Denmark, a former senior USA defense official on Asia, said China has welcomed Trump's sudden shift from confrontation to diplomacy with North Korea and also his decision to halt large-scale military exercises with close US ally South Korea. Resins definitely remain on both countries' radars for possible next phases of their trade conflict.

Trump imposed tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on imported aluminum from several countries. He said that, for now, "he's called the bluff of other countries that have basically been abusing" U.S. companies and workers. Crushers may not pass on the inflated cost at least in the short term, further eroding their already low margins, the bank said in a research note. The U.S.is effectively requiring Chinese leaders to abandon or scale back a high-tech push that they consider vital to their country's future.

China lodged a case with the World Trade Organization against the United States, its commerce ministry said on Friday.

China in turn imposed 25-percent levies on more than 500 American products also worth about 34 billion dollars.

It is unclear whether the soybean cargo, which did not arrive until after the penalties took effect, will pay the 25 percent higher tariff.

The first round targets Chinese industrial goods, not consumer products, in an attempt to limit the impact on USA households, but companies that rely on Chinese-made machinery or components may eventually have to pass along increased costs to customers.

But the new, second round of tariffs could wind up hitting harder, he said, since they increased the amount of duties that could be assessed on plastics.

The lack of any dramatic reaction suggests many market players have already factored the escalation in trade tensions into their trading strategies.

USA crude rose 0.2 percent at $73.08 a barrel. Hong Kong's Hang Seng also rose 0.5 percent.

The US and China on Friday launched tit-for-tat tariffs on each other's imports, the opening shots in what Beijing called "the largest trade war in economic history" between the world's top two economies.

China is a big market for Alaska, worth up to a billion dollars a year, with half of that figure being sent directly to China for home consumption. It opened markets for US farmers but led some American automakers to shift production to low-wage Mexico and to then ship cars back to the United States duty-free.

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