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Trump slaps US$50 billion tariffs on China: S&P/ASX 200 set to sink 1.5%

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) is set to finish the week with a day in the red after President Trump signed an executive memo ordering U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to levy tariffs on at least US$50 billion (A$65 billion) in Chinese imports.

According to the memo, the President has instructed the Trade Representative to publish a proposed list of products and any tariff increases within 15 days of today’s announcement.

Fears that this could spark a trade war has led to the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling over 700 points or almost 3% overnight.

According to Bloomberg, Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador to the U.S. has warned President Trump that it would return fire on the tariffs, saying the American middle class would ultimately pay the price.

In addition to this, the ambassador said on the embassy’s Facebook page that: “We don’t want a trade war, but we are not afraid of it.” Before going on to say that China “will certainly fight back and retaliate. If people want to play tough, we will play tough with them and see who will last longer.”

What about the Australian share market?

At the time of writing the Australian market is poised to open sharply lower. Futures are currently pointing to an 89-points decline at the open, equivalent to a 1.5% decline.

Although this is largely a US-China issue at this stage, there are concerns that this could escalate into a global trade war.

Should a global trade war commence, Australian businesses that export a significant amount of goods could be hurt. Companies such as A2 Milk Company Ltd (ASX: A2M) and Treasury Wine Estates Ltd (ASX: TWE) spring to mind.

What now?

It is still early days, of course, and there’s still a lot of unknowns.

So, I would suggest investors don’t panic too much over this latest news and look to use today’s market sell-off as a buying opportunity to pick up some quality shares at a more attractive price.

Finally, these are the three shares I would be buying if they were sold off today. I think they have bucketloads of growth potential.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of A2 Milk. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Treasury Wine Estates Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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