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The president made fixing the trade imbalance with China a centerpiece of his presidential campaign, where he frequently used incendiary language to describe how Beijing would "rape" the United States economically.

The president's remarks came weeks after his decision to tax imports of steel and aluminium, followed by planned levies on $50 billion worth of goods from China over what Washington says is theft of intellectual property and technology.

"The recent Cabinet re-shuffle indicates a circle of presidential advisors who closely adhere to Trump's world view, raising the risks of an all-out trade war", the note added.

US President Donald Trump predicted on Sunday that China would take down its trade barriers, expressing optimism despite escalating trade tensions between the world's two largest economies that have roiled global markets in the past week.

Earlier in the week, Beijing announced separate import duties on $3 billion in US goods in response to the Trump administration's duties on all steel and aluminum imports, including from China.

Trump's moves, part of his protectionist "America First" agenda, have given investors the jitters, fearing a trade war between the world's top two economies could reverse a tentative global recovery.

In the wake of Trump's decision in March to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, primarily to target China, the USA on Tuesday published a list of $50 billion in Chinese goods to be hit by tariffs over what Washington says is widespread theft of intellectual property and technology.

The Trump administration also is pushing for a crackdown on what it says is China's theft of USA intellectual property. He's also instructed his secretary of agriculture "to implement a plan to protect our farmers and agricultural interests".

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The latest escalation comes after the US on Tuesday said it would impose 25 percent duties on $50 billion of imports from China, and China quickly retaliated by listing $50 billion of products that it could hit with its own 25 percent tariffs. "Under these circumstances, the president is right to ask for additional appropriate action to obtain the elimination of the unfair acts, policies, and practices identified in USTR's report".

U.S. stocks plunged more than two percent Friday after Trump warned of tariffs on an additional $100 billion worth of Chinese imports, provoking a strong response from Beijing and fanning fears of a full-blown trade war.

Trump said he and Xi would resolve their trade differences eventually and "will always be friends."

The president commented ahead of several appearances by top members of his economic team, who defended the USA threats to impose tariffs on Chinese imports and framed the moves as part of a longer-term strategy for growth.

"And those tariffs will be imposed, and then investment restrictions will be imposed", he said.

But as Trump tries to project confidence that a dispute that has rattled financial markets, consumers and businesses can be soon resolved, his top economic advisers are offering mixed messages as to the best approach with China.

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., a frequent Trump critic, called the escalation "the dumbest possible way" to punish China. Kudlow, who started his job a week ago after his predecessor, Gary Cohn, quit over the tariffs plan, noted that none of the United States moves has gone into effect, and he downplayed the possibility of economic repercussions. "China's behavior, it's 20 years now, it's more than unfair trade practices".

"This is a just a proposed idea which will be vetted by" the US Trade Representative, Kudlow told reporters at the White House. "But thankfully, we have a president that's willing to actually stand up, be tough, and take some really courageous and bold action, like President Trump has done", she said.


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