Trump Announces New Taxes on TVs and Air Conditioners

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US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Washington did a thorough investigation to justify imposing tariffs on $50 billion worth of imports to compensate for the harm to the US economy caused by China's unfair trading practices, including theft or forced transfer of American technology.

In financial markets, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.5 percent, while the main indexes in Hong Kong and Shanghai fell more than 2 percent.

China, meanwhile has vowed to match any future tariffs dollar-for-dollar, signaling an escalating trade war between the two nations. Oil had risen the previous day, supported by a larger-than expected USA stock draw and supply concerns in Norway and Libya.

Some U.S. business groups and senior lawmakers sharply criticized the latest action on Tuesday, with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Republican, saying it "appears reckless and is not a targeted approach".

USTR will hold hearings in late August on the list of targeted products, and an administration official said it would take about two months to finalize, at which point Trump would decide whether to go ahead with the tariffs.

A senior administration official told Fox News that China has been "non-responsive" to US actions and has insisted that Beijing does not see any way America has been hurt by Chinese policies.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, said he intends to hold hearings and vote on the president's pick this fall. Now, advisers believe, all of Trump's finalists can earn the support of the president's party, and ultimately confirmation.

The fight with China comes as Mr. Trump is also locked in a trade war with Canada, Mexico, the European Union and other US allies.

Robert Holleyman, the USA official in charge of trade with Asia during former president Barack Obama's second term, described the tariffs as "tax hikes on US imports".

The Retail Industry Leaders Association, a lobby group representing the largest United States retailers, said: "The president has broken his promise to bring maximum pain on China, minimum pain on consumers". High-level talks between the two countries starting in May failed to deliver a breakthrough to head off a trade war.

Louis Kuijs, Hong Kong-based Head of Asia Economics at Oxford Economics, said while he expects China to strongly condemn the USA moves, its policy response is likely to be limited for now.

The earliest they would come into effect is September. Chinese tactics, the administration said, include outright cybertheft and forcing United States companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market. But a senior administration official who briefed reporters Tuesday on the condition that he not be identified added: "we do intend to keep the pressure on them".

"China has no option but to fight fire with fire".

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