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"I will be very surprised - it could happen - I'll be very surprised if China reduces its tariffs on autos from all sources and all descriptions to zero percent", he said.

Lacking that, we may need a hero to stand against the threat of Tariff Man.

Officials in Beijing did not respond to requests for an explanation and neither did the Chinese embassy in Washington.

Stocks fell following Trump's tweetstorm with the Dow Jones industrial average declining almost 3%.

China's ministry of foreign affairs said Monday the Chinese and US president had agreed to work toward removing all tariffs. "But if not remember, I am a Tariff Man", the commander-in-chief wrote about the agreement.

Trump said he and Xi "are the only two people that can bring about massive and very positive change, on trade and far beyond, between our two great Nations. It will always be the best way to max out our economic power", he said.

Mr. Shapiro then took a page out of iconic free-market economist Milton Friedman's playbook to counter the president. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 730 points, or 2.8%, on Tuesday morning.

Trade bellwethers Boeing Co's 3.6-percent drop and Caterpillar Inc's 5.7-percent retreat weighed the most on the Dow, while twin declines of 3.7 percent in Amazon.com Inc and Apple Inc dragged on the Nasdaq and S&P. The JSE was closed before the latest jitters, with the all-share index ending the day 0.3% higher. On Sunday, Trump tweeted that China had agreed to cut import levies on American-made cars. In doing so, he spread confusion and sent the stock market tumbling while essentially threatening a trade war against China over what his administration perceives as trade abuses.

At his political rallies and news conferences, Trump often praises the increase in USA military spending during his almost two years in the White House.

Trump said China had committed to buying large amounts of US agricultural products and completely removing all tariffs on US automobiles a huge shift from its current 40 per cent penalty although China hasn't confirmed this

In the day after Trump announced the deal in a two-sentence Twitter post, the White House provided no additional information.

"The market is trying to figure out: "Is there going to be a real deal at the end of 90 days or not?'" Mnuchin told the Wall Street Journal CEO Council". According to details released by the White House, Trump agreed to postpone a planned January 1 escalation of tariffs on Chinese goods for 90 days, while Xi agreed to buy more American agricultural goods in the meantime.

But he also warned that tougher tariffs could be on the horizon if the Chinese don't play ball. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has suggested to Axios that he would support legislation that limits the president's ability to impose tariffs.

US accusations that China steals intellectual property from American companies are a central issue in President Donald Trump's trade war with Beijing.

Despite Mnuchin's earlier comments on President Trump leading trade negotiations with China, .

Questioned about the agreement on Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trump's top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, dialed back expectations and added qualifiers. Let the negotiations begin.

Beijing has not yet confirmed the move and President Trump's advisers appeared less certain about the agreement.

Isaac Boltansky, a policy analyst at research and trading firm Compass Point, said Tuesday that there was already a "lingering sense of uncertainty" about the truce and there was "still reticence among some in the investment community".

The White House later corrected him to say that the 90 days actually began on December 1, Saturday. "This agreement is a short-term alleviation of trade tensions, but we caution that this is a reprieve rather than a resolution".

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