In what appears to be an effort to ratchet up pressure on China to make greater concessions in ongoing trade negotiations, the Trump administration announced today it was moving forward with tariffs and other trade restrictions associated with US claims of intellectual property theft by Chinese enterprises.
Washington will also press ahead with restrictions on investment by Chinese companies in the United States as well as export controls for goods exported to China, the statement from the White House said. The communist regime has also engaged in rampant intellectual property theft.
China hawk White House Director of Trade and Policy Peter Navarro was largely absent from last week's talks in Washington led by Liu He, China's top economic advisor. China hit back at that, with a foreign ministry spokeswoman saying on Wednesday that China would respond accordingly if the USA insisted on unilateral measures.
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.
The move followed a brief hold on the tariffs put in place about 10 days ago as officials reportedly sought leverage to negotiate a deal with its largest trading partner.
The American Chamber of Commerce in China has said it believes that threatening tariffs can be a useful tool to force Beijing to make more concessions at the negotiating table.
"Trump is going on offense, reverting to his earlier instincts on China and re-empowering the trade hawks in his Cabinet", Eurasia Group said.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is scheduled to visit China on Saturday to negotiate the details of that agreement.
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". "We are very surprised by the White House statement".
The State Department noted these changes will go into effect starting on June 11.
President under pressure to stay tough in cold China trade war.
But when Trump subsequently said he would ease penalties against ZTE in order to save Chinese jobs, this drew a sharp backlash from his supporters. "It is obviously against the consensus reached by the U.S. and China in Washington recently".
The tariff threat could still disrupt Ross's China talks.
China's Ministry of Commerce said yesterday that the U.S. statement is contrary to the consensuses the two sides previously reached in Washington.
Navarro is seen as closely aligned with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who spearheaded his department's investigation into China's trade and investment policies.
Many experts and US companies, however, warn that China's efforts to protect its high-tech industries and capture USA technology represent the larger threat.