Thursday, 24 May, 2018

White House may impose tariffs on China next for intellectual property theft

Trump signing the sweeping tariffs which could trigger trade war Trump signing the sweeping tariffs which could trigger trade war
Lillian Steele | 16 March, 2018, 01:11

Tariffs on tech exports could potentially hit the fastest growing segment of China's industrial sector, as Trump seeks to impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports in the very near future.

Washington is targeting Chinese high technology companies to punish them for China's investment policies that effectively force US companies to give up their technology secrets in exchange for being allowed to operate in the country along with other allegations of intellectual property theft. A U.S. Treasury spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"China does not wish to fight a trade war, nor will China initiate a trade war, but we can handle any challenge and will resolutely defend the interests of our country and our people", he said.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said after meetings in Brussels that she got "no immediate clarity on the exact U.S. procedure for exemption", and that new talks are planned next week.

Malmstroem said the real problem is an oversupply of steel on global markets, and she rejected Trump's assertion that the tariffs are needed to protect USA national security, especially when most European Union countries are members of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Responding to calls for exemptions, Mr Trump said the "wonderful countries" of the European Union "treat the U.S. very badly on trade".

The comments came a week after US President Donald Trump announced heavy trade tariffs of 25 per cent for steel and 10 per cent for aluminium.

"Their incentive to negotiate is to head us off from a major trade conflict".

A second person, who is an industry lobbyist in Washington who is familiar with the administration's thinking said the process was being led by Peter Navarro, an avowed protectionist, who has accused American companies of conniving with the Chinese state, and by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who also favors tariffs as a tool. "We will look at the impact onJapanese businesses and make a final decision".

Speaking to reporters in the Capitol, U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady stressed that Trump was serious about addressing the issue of intellectual property theft with China.

Chinese leaders have threatened in the past to retaliate against raised trade barriers, but have yet to take direct action following the announcement. Tariffs artificially raise the prices of steel, causing modifications to tightly integrated global supply chains and companies to be less competitive in global markets.

The EU reacted angrily to Trump's announcement with the European Commission announcing last Wednesday that it would raise import duties on archetypal USA goods including bourbon, peanuts and cranberries if the US went ahead.

A senior European diplomat in Beijing said China would be relieved to see Europe and Washington at odds over the metals tariffs.

The European Union and Japan, the United States' top economic and military ally in Asia, also reiterated that their exports were not a threat to USA national security, rejecting Trump's justification for imposing the tariffs.

Malmstrom accused the Trump administration of using trade "to threaten and intimidate" Europeans and using the issue as a "scapegoat". There had been a willingness to do something together on China.

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