Trump predicts China will open its markets

Stocks plummet amidst fear of trade war; White House says no going back on China

WASHINGTON-U.S. President Donald Trump is suggesting China will ease trade barriers "because it is the right thing to do" and Washington and Beijing can settle disputes that have rattled financial markets, consumers and businesses.

"If dramatic changes in its trade policy regime aren't made, China's approach to seizing advantage in the marketplace will put United States businesses at a competitive disadvantage, threatening the long-term prosperity, economic growth and job creation here at home", he said. "Great future for both countries!"

He added that "President Xi and I will always be friends", referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Sources told South China Morning Post that China's plan to create free-trade ports as part of its ongoing reform and opening up could be one of Xi's major announcements at this year's Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), which gets under way on Sunday (April 8).

Investors were unnerved by the latest broadside from the volatile U.S. president and by the strident response from China, which vowed to stand firm "until the end at any cost".

China's Commerce Ministry spokesman, Gao Feng, said on Friday that Mr Trump's threat of another package of tariffs was "extremely mistaken" and unjustified, adding no negotiations were likely in the current circumstances.

On Thursday, China opened a World Trade Organisation challenge to the US's proposed tariffs, arguing that they represent a serious violation of global trading rules, because they discriminate against Chinese goods.

China retaliated by unveiling planned levies on $50 billion worth of major United States exports, including soybeans, cars and aircraft.

Hungary's election could produce record turnout - ruling party
Turnout was higher than the final turnout of 61.73 percent in the last election in 2014 which gave Orban a landslide victory. Orban, Hungary's longest-serving post-communist premier, opposes deeper integration of the bloc.

Trump hit back again late Thursday, instructing trade officials to consider the additional levies on $100 billion in imports.

"Rather than remedy its misconduct, China has chosen to harm our farmers and manufacturers", Trump said, calling Beijing's reaction "unfair".

Any additional tariffs would be subject to a public comment process and would not go into effect until that process is complete.

On Sunday, the state People's Daily newspaper sought to tap into concern among some USA business leaders over the impact of Washington's planned tariffs.

The rising trade tension between the world's two largest economies follows a USA finding that China was engaging in unfair trade practices in connection with intellectual property protection.

The new White House economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, has said the U.S.is "not in a trade war" and that "China is the problem".

In China, some observers held out hope that the two countries were headed toward negotiations and noted that despite Beijing's tough talk, it likely does not want the country's export-driven economy to be hit by punishing tariffs. "Then, hopefully, there will be discussions, and hopefully, in just the next two months the Chinese will come seriously back to the table". "We're moving forward in a measured way", he said on NBC's "Meet the Press". In a separate interview on "Fox News Sunday", Kudlow acknowledged "jitters" but insisted "we're not gonna to end up in a trade war". "We want 'em to guard intellectual property, not take it from us". But he also said "there is the potential of a trade war".

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