China responds to Trump White House tariff, trade war reversal

China responds to Trump White House tariff, trade war reversal

In what appears to be an effort to ratchet up pressure on China to make greater concessions in ongoing trade negotiations, the Trump administration announced today it was moving forward with tariffs and other trade restrictions associated with USA claims of intellectual property theft by Chinese enterprises.

In addition to the tariffs, the White House also announced forthcoming restrictions on Chinese investment in USA tech companies.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced that tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods would go forward despite a broad trade agreement.

The proposed investment restrictions and export controls will be announced by June 30, 2018, and adopted shortly thereafter, according to the White House.

In addition to the bilateral talks with Beijing, the United States also will continue to pursue the complaints filed in the World Trade Organization as well as the cases against individual products.

In the announcement, the USA government listed a range of grievances against Chinese trade practices, ranging from product dumping to industrial subsidies to forced technology transfer.

One of President Donald Trump's chief tactics in negotiations has been unpredictability. However, the US has yet to publish a list of target products for the $100 billion, and the White House statement makes no reference to the second potential tranche of duties.

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US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, arrives in Beijing on June 2 for further trade talks, and the latest statement is seen as a pressure tactic.

China later retaliated by levying tariffs against US exports. China and the United States averted a trade war by reaching an agreement on May 20 under which Beijing agreed to "significantly increase" its purchases of American goods and services to reduce United States dollars 375 billion trade deficit with Washington.

A list of potential tariff targets has already been published by the United States Trade Representative and it largely includes intermediate goods used by companies to make other products as well as some consumer goods like televisions.

Just nine days ago Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the administration would ditch plans to impose tariffs of 25 per cent on a string of products, expected to be tech-heavy, while talks continued between the two sides.

The near collapse of Chinese telecommunications company ZTE after U.S. sanctions prevented it from purchasing U.S. microchips has in recent weeks hardened China's resolve to become self-sufficient in critical technologies, and has make it unlikely China will agree to abandon the Made in China 2025 program.

After announcing tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium in March, Trump raised the ante repeatedly in the following weeks.

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