USA threatens China with tariffs over alleged theft of trade secrets

Charlene Craig
May 31, 2018

These measures will be taken pursuant to the decisions made by US President Donald Trump on March 22 of this year, the press service said.

She urged the U.S. to "follow the spirit" of the recent consensus reached between Washington and Beijing, to abandon trade wars and back off imposing tariffs on each other.

Likewise, the USA will request that China remove all of its many trade barriers, including non-monetary trade barriers, which make it both hard and unfair to do business there, it said.

The declaration came after the two sides had agreed earlier this month to look at steps to narrow China's $375 billion trade surplus with America, and days ahead of a visit to Beijing by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for further negotiations.

The China Daily newspaper said the repeated USA claim that Beijing 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.

Tariffs of 25 per cent will be applied to Chinese imports containing important technologies, including those related to Beijing's Made-in-China 2025 development program, the White House said. China said the claims were unproven and sometimes speculative.

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US Treasure Secretary Steven Mnuchin had said any trade war would be put on ice while negotiators thrashed out details and as part of the deal, China would reduce its trade advantage by buying more US goods such as agricultural and energy commodities.

It said the proposed tariffs are in response to China's practices with respect to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation. And while they do not include apparel and footwear, the industry is concerned about their possible inclusion on any lists extended to additional products imported from China.

A U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that under directions sent to USA embassies and consulates, 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, AP reported.

But now the truce appears to be over.

The White House also announced new restrictions on Chinese investment and USA exports of high-tech goods to China.

The White House said in a statement that the administration would announce by June 15 its final list of $50 billion of Chinese products that would be subject to 25 percent tariffs.

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The White House announcement said it also would impose curbs on Chinese investment and purchases of high-tech exports. The president also plans to impose restrictions on investment in some Chinese companies.

It will also continue to pursue a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement against China originally initiated in March to address its discriminatory technology licensing requirements.

China vows it will fight back if the United States goes through with plans to impose huge tariffs on Chinese goods.

In a statement on its website, posted under the heading "China-US Trade Conflict", the Ministry said: "As the two largest economies in the world, cooperation is the only correct choice for China and the US".

CGTN's Jessica Stone spoke with Marc Ross on the latest trade actions between United States and China.

Even though Washington had not withdrawn the threatened tariffs on imports from China, Beijing reacted harshly to the announcement, saying it was surprised by Tuesday's statement and would defend its interests.

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