Published: Wed, May 30, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Trump to Impose Tariffs on $50B of China's Tech Goods

Trump to Impose Tariffs on $50B of China's Tech Goods

The United States announced that it would move forward with tariffs on Chinese goods worth $50 billion, as well as restrictions on investment in critical technologies.

The latest talks focus on USA claims of intellectual property theft by China. While the White House has not confirmed the full list of product types that will be subjected to the 25 per cent tariffs, it did note that the tech-heavy Made in China 2025 strategy will be targeted.

All of these announcements should be taken with a shaker's worth of salt though, since these are just the latest cards being played in a series of interconnected negotiations both internal to the White House and external with the Chinese government.

The White House said the planned sanctions announced in March, largely focused on China's theft of American intellectual property, were still in the works and details would be announced in the coming month. As different actors curry favor with President Donald Trump, their respective policies seem to appear and disappear. The US watchdog said the approvals, and other Trump family business connections to China, "raised potential ethics issues".

The White House also said new restrictions on Chinese investment and enhanced export controls will be announced by June 30, with implementation soon after. "This is obviously contrary to the consensus reached between the two sides in Washington not long ago", China's Commerce Ministry said in a statement, adding it was both "surprised and unsurprised". "Right now, we have agreed to put the tariffs on hold while we try to execute the framework", Mnuchin said in a television interview on Fox News.

The back-and-forth comes just days before Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is scheduled to visit Beijing to continue talks with Chinese officials.

The administration also said it would pursue a settlement over its dispute with China before the World Trade Organization regarding what it says were unfair technology licensing deals.

The White House statement also said the US plans to continue litigation at the World Trade Organization for China's intellectual-property practices. "Regardless of what measures the U.S. launches, China has the confidence, capability and experience in safeguarding the interests of the Chinese people and its core national interests". China retaliated by imposing additional tariffs worth about Dollars three billion on 128 USA products. The group cited research from Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, who estimates that USA pork producers have lost $2.2 billion on an annualized basis as a result of events leading up to and following China's 25 percent punitive tariff on pork.

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