Published: Sat, June 02, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

White House slaps 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods

White House slaps 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods

Trump has bemoaned the massive USA trade deficit with China - $337 billion past year - as evidence that Beijing has been complicit in abusive trading practices.

The China Daily newspaper said the repeated USA claim that China had forced foreign firms to transfer their technologies to Chinese businesses was without evidence and was being used as an excuse to facilitate its trade protectionism.

That inquiry provided the justification for punitive tariffs on US$50 billion worth of annual imports from China, which Trump announced last month.

Critics had accused the administration of going soft on China after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said tariffs were on hold while the two sides continue trade talks.

"President Trump has taken long overdue action to finally address the source of the problem, China's unfair trade practices that hurt America's workers and our innovative industries", the White House said. But on Wednesday, Trump reversed and signaled that he still planned to impose $50 million in tariffs on Chinese imports. "The list of affected goods will be released by June 15", it added, The Hill reported.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is scheduled to travel to China this weekend for further discussions. "We urge the U.S.to honor its words and meet China halfway in the spirit of our joint statement.", said Hua Chunying of the Chinese foreign ministry.

The White House also said it plans to announce new measures to restrict Chinese investment "related to the acquisition of industrially significant technology" by 30 June.

The announcement comes at a sensitive time in US-China relations, amid US talks with nuclear-armed North Korea as well as rising tensions in the South China Sea, where two US vessels recently sailed close to two disputed islands, prompting protest from Beijing.

The near collapse of Chinese telecommunications company ZTE after United States sanctions prevented it from purchasing United States 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.

A statement from the White House yesterday (29 May), said China has consistently taken advantage of the American economy with practices that undermine fair and reciprocal trade.

After recent meetings, it appeared China and the USA had reached somewhat of a truce in the ongoing saga of escalating trade tensions.

China's commerce ministry responded hours later with a statement, saying it was surprised by the United States announcement and remains confident the country can protect its interests.

Also on Tuesday, a White House official said the U.S.

Beijing has previously pledged to retaliate against the 25 percent tariffs.

While trade disputes remain a risk to China's economic outlook, the countries will likely find common ground, said Robin Xing, chief China economist at Morgan Stanley.

Navarro also noted that support for a hard line with China on trade had bipartisan support.

Beijing faces similar pressure from Europe, where companies complain they are blocked from acquiring most assets in China while Chinese companies are on a global buying spree.

Economists estimate that United States exports could rise by up to $90 billion over a period of years.

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