Trade dispute escalates as Trump threatens $100 billion more in China tariffs

President Donald Trump on Thursday directed U.S. trade officials to identify tariffs on $100 billion more Chinese imports, upping the ante in an already high-stakes trade confrontation between the world’s two largest economies.

The further tariffs were being considered “in light of China’s unfair retaliation” against earlier U.S. trade actions, which included a proposed $50 billion of tariffs on Chinese goods, Trump said in a White House statement.

“This is what a trade war looks like, and what we have warned against from the start,” said National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay.

“We are on a dangerous downward spiral and American families will be on the losing end,” Shay added in a statement, urging Trump “to stop playing a game of chicken with the U.S. economy.”

Financial markets, roiled for days by the trade fight and Trump’s management of it, whipsawed again on the new threat. After a bullish regular trading day, U.S. equity futures sold off sharply in after-market-hours trading.