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

Sergio Conner
May 30, 2018

The United States will levy a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion of goods imported from China, the White House announced on Tuesday, May 29.

In addition, the Trump administration said trade talks with China will continue, and it will request China remove all of its many trade barriers, including non-monetary trade barriers, and that tariffs and taxes between the two countries be "reciprocal in nature and value".

The list of specific imports subject to the tariff hike will be released on June 15, with the list on investment restrictions set to be posted on June 30. The Trump administration has sought to reduce the United States trade deficit with China by increasing the amount of U.S. exports to the country.

Trade talks on China and the North American Free Trade Agreement have hit stumbling blocks, posing a challenge for a president who vowed to make trade deals more equitable for the United States during his 2016 campaign and who famously tweeted that trade wars are "easy to win".

Trump has long bemoaned the massive trade deficit with China.

"The United States will continue efforts to protect domestic technology and intellectual property, stop non-economic transfers of industrially significant technology and intellectual property to China, and enhance access to the Chinese market", the statement said.

A crackdown of Chinese investment into "industrially significant technology".

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The tariffs and investment restrictions, as well as a case brought by the United States against China before the World Trade Organisation, are the outcome of an investigation launched past year into intellectual property practices in China.

Many have pointed to a quid-pro-quo scenario created to benefit the Trump empire and its global expansion, though more likely the move was related to the U.S.'s ongoing negotiations with North Korea, in which China has been a key player. That follows the conclusion of the U.S. Trade Representative's Section 301 investigation into China's industrial and intellectual property policies.

Trump said last Friday he had reached a deal to keep ZTE running, rolling back some penalties in exchange for security guarantees - infuriating Democrats and some in his own party.

US President Donald Trump has put a missile, in the form of trade sanctions, back on the launchpad, started fueling it, and programmed its computer to strike Beijing.

The National Retail Federation on Tuesday said it was "disappointed" with the new White House communications, saying the tariffs would raise prices, kill jobs and spur costly retaliation. Trump has said that ZTE is part of the larger trade talks.

The deal to reduce China's trade surplus with the USA was separate from the US probe into China's alleged theft of intellectual property.

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