White House Moves Ahead With Tough Trade Measures on China

White House Moves Ahead With Tough Trade Measures on China

In a statement, the White House said, "To protect our national security, 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 last round of talks concluded on May 19 with the countries announcing little progress toward resolving a long list of complaints the American negotiators had previously identified.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that they could be canceled if the two sides are unable to agree in advance on the issues to be discussed during Ross' visit.

With Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross heading to China this weekend for the next round of negotiations, there is some doubt about the administration's ultimate objective: Is it trying to change the nature of China's economic system, or does it simply want to improve the trade balance between the two countries?

Amid that revelation, Trump swooped in to the rescue, on May 15, seeking to spare ZTE from its zombie state as part of the ongoing negotiations with China over trade.

The trade escalation came after the two sides had agreed during talks in Washington earlier this month to find steps to narrow China's $US375 billion trade surplus.

Liu said a fortnight ago that a deal had been struck for China to increase imports of United States energy, agricultural, health, high-tech products and financial services.

Ivanka Trump does not have a large retail presence in China, but customs records show that the bulk of her company's US imports are shipped from China.

Trump has vacillated in recent weeks on how hard to push Beijing over issues such as tariffs and intellectual property. Trump announced on Tuesday that was moving forward with tariffs on Chinese imports. It was one of the justifications the Trump administration used to propose tariffs at the time. "So far, there's not much of that in evidence". And last month, the US began announcing specific tariffs, prompting a tit-for-tat of escalating proposals and retaliatory threats.

The White House announcement said it also would impose curbs on Chinese investment and purchases of high-tech exports.

The tariff will apply to products "containing industrially significant technology". They warn the duties could end up raising costs for American consumers, devastating farmers and hurting other exporters if China proceeds with retaliatory duties. That inquiry provided the justification for punitive tariffs on US$50 billion worth of annual imports from China, which Trump announced last month.

Also on Sunday, an effort was unveiled by more than 60 House Democrats to demand a federal ethics investigation into the president's decision to ease a ban on ZTE, which breached its agreement to pay a $1.2 billion fine for conspiring to sell American technology to North Korea and Iran. If the fight is truly about intellectual property theft, the United States could likely recruit some of its allies to help apply pressure.

According to the White House, to protect its national security, the USA will implement specific investment restrictions and enhanced export controls for Chinese persons and entities related to the acquisition of industrially significant technology. The Treasury has presented its findings to the president, but its conclusions are yet to be made public.

US President Donald Trump's top trade adviser undercut Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Washington's position with respect to China on Wednesday, calling Mnuchin's declaration of a pause in trade action against Beijing "an unfortunate sound bite". "It may be the administration has shifted somewhat to appease the Congress on the lifting of the ZTE sanctions".

Earlier on Tuesday, Washington said it was still considering slapping 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods in retaliation for what the Trump administration says are China's unfair trade practices.

The White House said China's industrial policies continued to be damaging to businesses both in the USA and around the world, and claimed that this year alone it had found "dumping or unfair subsidies on 13 different products".

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