Published: Wed, May 30, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

China slams surprise U.S. trade announcement, says ready to fight

China slams surprise U.S. trade announcement, says ready to fight

The limitations, which were reported earlier Tuesday by the Associated Press, emerged as President Donald Trump announced that he was going forward with plans to impose tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports and curb investment in sensitive technology, ratcheting up pressure on Beijing days before the next round of trade negotiations.

The White House said "the United States will continue efforts to protect domestic technology and intellectual property, stop noneconomic transfers of industrially significant technology and intellectual property to China, and enhance access to the Chinese market".

The White House said Tuesday the tax will affect goods worth $50 billion and include products related to the Made in China 2025 program, a 2015 initiative promoting the country's information technology, robotics, aerospace, marine, rail, auto, power, agriculture and bio-medical industries.

Specifics of the new limits will be announced by June 30 and will take effect "shortly thereafter", the White House said.

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

Pointing to a pause in the trade dispute, the administration pointed to China's plans to "significantly increase" its purchases of US goods and services and make "meaningful increases" in USA exports of agriculture and energy products.

Trade talks on China and the North American Free Trade Agreement have hit stumbling blocks, posing a challenge for a president who vowed to make trade deals more equitable for the United States during his 2016 campaign and who famously tweeted that trade wars are "easy to win".

Trump has bemoaned the massive U.S. trade deficit with China as evidence that Beijing has been complicit in abusive trading practices.

The China tariffs are back on. Although the Trump administration first announced the tariffs in April, as recently as a week ago the administration said that tariffs were no longer on the table after significant progress had been made in trade negotiations between the countries.

The White House issued a second statement listing the details of many complaints against China, including dumping of goods into the USA market at below market value, high tariffs and overcapacity - likely referring to steel and aluminum, which are subject to another set of harsh U.S. tariffs.

In a statement Tuesday, the White House said a final list of covered imports will be released by June 15 and the tariffs will be imposed "shortly thereafter".

Last week Trump said he had reached a deal to let Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE stay in business.

The ban was meant to be punishment for what U.S. officials said were false statements by ZTE over actions it claimed to have taken regarding the illegal sale of goods to Iran and North Korea.

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 U.S. markets.

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