Trump moves ahead with Chinese trade tariffs, threatening to reignite tensions

Trump moves ahead with Chinese trade tariffs, threatening to reignite tensions

In a statement Tuesday, President Donald Trump's administration said the USA will take steps against China's "certain discriminatory and burdensome trade practices" - including a 25 percent tariff on Chinese imports "containing industrially significant technology".

The Trump administration made the announcement in a statement called "Steps to Protect Domestic Technology and Intellectual Property from China's Discriminatory and Burdensome Trade Practices".

The White House doubled down Tuesday on its plan to impose tariffs against billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports, saying it will release a list of the affected products by June. This package of tariffs is different than a separate package of tariffs focused on steel and aluminum production announced earlier this year.

The White House said the policies included forced technology transfer; requiring licensing at less than economic value; state-directed acquisition of sensitive USA technology for strategic purposes; and outright cybertheft. As different actors curry favor with President Donald Trump, their respective policies seem to appear and disappear.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin went on Fox News to say the trade war was "on hold".

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.

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The Chinese Commerce Ministry said the move breached the recent consensus reached between Washington and Beijing.

When Trump first directed US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to levy tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese exports in March, following a months-long investigation into intellectual property theft, the move was hailed as a victory for trade hawks in the Trump administration. "The final list of covered imports will be announced by June 15, 2018, and tariffs will be imposed on those imports shortly thereafter", the statement said.

The possibility of inflamed trade tensions, coming just over a week after a trade war with China seemed unlikely, helped contribute to a tumble in USA markets.

"No matter what the actions that the U.S. plans to take, China has the confidence, the capability, and the experience to defend the core interests of the people and the nation", the statement said.

China has repeatedly said that it will push ahead with its development of high-tech industries and will not back down in the face of what it sees as threats from Washington.

The Associated Press, which first reported the new policy, quoted a US official as saying Chinese graduate students would be limited to one-year visas if they are studying in certain fields, such as robotics, aviation and high-tech manufacturing.

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