Wilbur Ross, U.S. commerce secretary. (Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

Ross Expects China to Have `Measured Response' to Trump Tariffs

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said he expects China will have a “measured response” to President Donald Trump’s move to slap tariffs on about $50 billion of goods imported from the Asian nation and restrict Chinese investment.

The $50 billion target is an “illustrative figure” and the final list of targeted goods currently being drawn up by the U.S. administration will determine the “exact tally,” Ross said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Thursday.

“I expect there will be a response, I think it will be a measured response,” said Ross. “These are very thoughtful and very serious people, they know the president is being very thoughtful and very serious.”

Ross repeated the Trump administration is looking for a $100 billion reduction in the U.S. trade deficit with China, which expanded to a record $375 billion last year. One of the “innumerable ways” to close the gap is for China to import more liquefied natural gas and agricultural products, among other goods, from the U.S., said Ross.

The president hasn’t announced any permanent exclusions on steel and aluminum tariffs that take effect on Friday, Ross said. Canada and Mexico have been exempted pending the successful negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, he said. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer earlier on Thursday suggested Europe, South Korea, Australia, Brazil and Argentina would at least initially be spared from the duties as well.

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