Mnuchin denies stories on China-specific investment restrictions

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Harley-Davidson, the dominant player in the USA motorcycle market said on Monday it would not pass on the cost of European Union tariffs to customers and instead focus on shifting some US production to other countries. He warned that Beijing had an "enormous array of tools to put pressure on American companies" like Apple and GM, companies that really depend on China.

After months of increasingly ribald rhetoric and threats, the trade fight seems to be coming to a head, with Europe imposing tariffs on $3.3bn of American products on Friday in response to U.S. barriers on imports of aluminium and steel.

The EU riposted last week against emblematic American exports in response to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium.

Last Monday, President Donald Trump said he asked the U.S. trade representative to identify an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for a 10 per cent tariff.

Trump's measures were rejected by Beijing and Brussels, which in turn began to impose retaliatory tariffs on products from the US. The forthcoming restrictions would apply "to all countries that are trying to steal our technology", he said.

USA and Canadian stocks suffered their worst one-day decline in several months on Monday, amid rising global trade tensions and their potential impact on the world economy.

Stocks pared losses after Navarro's softening of the Trump administration's trade rhetoric.

"The market is perceiving that politics will become policy", said Brian Battle of Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago. "It's bad for growth", he said.

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"In the West you have the notion that if somebody hits you on the left cheek, you turn the other cheek", the Chinese leader said, according to the WSJ report citing people briefed on1qaa the meeting.

Meanwhile, later this week, the Treasury Department is due to unveil a proposal on investment and export restrictions.

Foreign investments already must pass interagency review under the Committee on Foreign Investment in the USA, to see if they violate national security.

Export controls, on the other hand, are the purview of the U.S. Commerce Department and the National Security Council.

The government official said the Treasury would invoke the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977 (IEEPA) to devise the restrictions.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 37.81 points (1.37 per cent) to end the day at 2,717.07, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sank 160.81 points (2.09 per cent) to 7,532.01.

But White House adviser Peter Navarro in a confusing interview with CNBC said first that there was no plan to impose investment restrictions on China or other countries, that the United States was not singling out China, and then said Treasury would present a report on investment restrictions on China on Friday. Its central bank said on Sunday it would cut the amount of cash some banks must hold as reserves by 50 basis points to spur lending to smaller firms.

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