U.S. Ramps Up Talk of Trade Action Against China

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

That changed this week.

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On Tuesday, the White House released a statement in which it said the U.S. would continue to pursue trade actions against China.

“The United States will impose a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion of goods imported from China containing industrially significant technology, including those related to the ‘Made in China 2025’ program,” the statement said. ” The final list of covered imports will be announced by June 15, 2018.”

The announcement moves the ball forward in the ongoing Section 301 investigation of Chinese trade practices launched last year. In March, President Trump announced that his administration would consider $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods (and later threatened an additional $100 billion in tariffs).

Recent talks between U.S. and Chinese trade officials in Beijing and Washington seemed to produce a tenuous truce, but that has apparently fizzled.

Among other actions, the White House said it will also “continue WTO dispute settlement against China originally initiated in March to address China’s discriminatory technology licensing requirements.”

The actions don’t stop there, however.

“The United States will implement specific investment restrictions and enhanced export controls for Chinese persons and entities related to the acquisition of industrially significant technology,” the statement read. “The list of restrictions and controls will be announced by June 30, 2018.”

Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, expressed cautious optimism about the announcement.

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“I hope the actions on intellectual property theft mean the mixed signals we’ve seen from the Trump administration on China are coming to an end,” he said in a prepared statement. “Punitive tariffs are always a last resort, but if Beijing is unable or unwilling to stop intellectual property theft and other unfair trade practices that cost American workers jobs and American businesses hundreds of billions of dollars every year, tariffs are the best leverage we have.

“We must vigorously defend our market and interests with every tool available, including tariffs, investment restrictions, and actions at the World Trade Organization.”

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