U.S.-China trade war escalates with new round of Section 301 tariffs and currency manipulation designation

Following on the heels of U.S. trade negotiators’ return from China, on 1 August, President Trump abruptly announced via Twitter an “additional Tariff of 10 percent on the remaining 300 Billion Dollars of goods and products coming from China” starting “on September 1.” After China hit back by allowing the yuan to depreciate below a key threshold, proclaiming its intent to impose “necessary counter-measures,” and halting purchases of U.S. farm products, the Treasury Department on 5 August designated China a “currency manipulator” under Section 3004(b) of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, further heightening U.S.-China trade tensions. Markets, which had been anticipating a period of calm following resumption of U.S.-China trade negotiations after President Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 Leaders Summit in Osaka, Japan, responded with a drop of 767 points in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a sharp drop in Treasury yields.

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