Published: Wed, May 30, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

White House slaps 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods

White House slaps 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods

Treasury Steven Mnuchin said then the conflict was "on hold" after Beijing promised to buy more USA goods to help narrow its multibillion-dollar trade surplus with the United States.

Barely a week after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the trade war with China was "on hold" and that tariffs would be suspended as talks continue, the White House issued a statement saying that the United States would move ahead with its plan to impose 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion worth of imported Chinese goods within the next month. "Regardless of what measures the U.S. launches, China has the confidence, capability and experience in safeguarding the interests of the Chinese people and its core national interests". The US delegation will be led by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who is set to arrive in China on Saturday. But it left Beijing unimpressed.

The announcement came as United States officials continued to arrive in Beijing for the latest round of talks between the world's two largest economies. Furthermore, the president's controversial trade tariffs on China earlier this year exempted his daughter's Chinese manufacturing partners.

The surprise USA move has raised questions about whether the talks with Ross will go ahead.

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Hua referred questions about Ross' visit to the Commerce Ministry, which is due to hold its regular weekly briefing Thursday morning in Beijing.

After the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative released a list of 1,300 product categories for potential tariffs of $50 billion on Chinese goods, China retaliated with a threat of an equal $50 billion in tariffs on U.S. exports to China.

Details of the investment and export controls will be announced by June 30 and the final tariff list will be published by June 15.

All three measures are being taken as a result of a seven-month investigation the Trump administration began into China's handling of data and intellectual property, which wrapped up in late March.

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"Congressman Matt Gaetz commended Trump for taking action against China's ruthless and unfair trade practices, as well as its state-sponsored theft of American innovators" intellectual property (IP). Bloomberg had reported that "a potential bill to prohibit ZTE Corp. and other Chinese telecommunications companies from operating in the USA would have supermajority support in Congress, Republican Senator Marco Rubio said". Those come on top of the $3 billion in tariffs in place as of early April on Chinese imports of US shipments of pork, fruit, nuts, recycled aluminum and other goods. "China urges the USA to move in the direction of the spirit of the joint communique".

In a weird way, though, Ross may have an edge in these negotiations.

Analysts in the United States suggested the newly confrontational stance also might be aimed at appeasing congressional critics of a deal the Trump administration made Friday that allowed Chinese telecom giant ZTE stay in business.

European companies also complain they are blocked from acquiring most assets in China while Chinese companies are on a global buying spree.

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