U.S. pressing China to cut trade surplus by $100 bln: White House

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The United States had a record $375 billion trade deficit with China in 2017, which made up two thirds of a global $566 billion US trade gap past year, according to US Census Bureau data.

For the USA, the most important trade issue with China concerns technology transfers, not Chinese exports of subsidized steel and aluminum.

The spokesperson did not provide details about how the Trump administration expects China to cut that deficit, according to the news service.

Trump, however, has continued to defy protests both from overseas and within his own Republican Party, tweeting Wednesday, "We can not keep a blind eye to the rampant unfair trade practices against our Country!" However, according to the non-profit organization Tax Foundation, these measures could actually have the opposite effect: Additional duties on aluminum and steel imports may cost U.S. firms about $9 billion a year which would be "eventually passed on to consumers through higher prices".

"We believe that China and the United States can use friendly consultations to resolve our disputes".

"So let us cherish this friendship, not challenge it", Tusk said.

Analysts also pointed to unease at reports that Mr Trump is weighing a crackdown on China over alleged intellectual property theft.

In response to the tariffs, the European Union has drawn up a list of U.S. products worth €2.8billion (£2.4billion).

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Trump is "hell-bent on going it alone" with unilateral tariffs, rather than working through the World Trade Organization or first making a deal with trading partners to jointly press Beijing, according to an outside adviser to the administration quoted in Politico.

The Chinese government said it "firmly opposes" the move but gave no indication whether it might make good on threats to retaliate.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told the EU parliament Wednesday that while the 28-nation bloc would continue to seek an exemption from the US measure that could kick in next week, it will prepare countermeasures to hit USA exports.

After the USA slapped tariffs on solar panels and washing machines, China is considering whether to restrict American access to China's soybean market in retaliation.

In recent days he has also widened his rhetoric against Europe to include more trade beyond steel, and said Monday that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross would speak to his counterparts to consider reducing tariffs that were "not fair to our farmers and manufacturers". The procedures are due by Sunday.

Now European Council President Donald Tusk has waded into the row and said the EU and United States should "make trade not war".

The largest sources for the material are Japan and Brazil, she said, adding that U.S. tire producers will lose business to foreign competitors if their steel costs rise. A "Made in America" comeback would revive the manufacturing industry we've slowly been losing to other countries and boost the economy and workforce.

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