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America: America to impose tough trade measures on China

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WASHINGTON: The Trump administration said on Monday that it would proceed with plans to impose a series of punitive trade-related measures on China next month, intensifying pressure on Beijing as trade talks between the countries continue. The White House said the US would move ahead with its plan to levy 25% tariffs on $50 billion of imported Chinese goods, despite recent remarks by Steven Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, and other administration officials that the tariffs would be suspended while the countries continued their negotiations.

The administration had previously announced a list of goods that would be subject to tariffs, including flatscreen TVs and medical devices. It then held a series of hearings on the tariffs, giving the public a chance to influence the final list. The White House said it would detail the final list of goods that will subject to the tariffs by June 15, and the duties would be imposed shortly after that, the statement said.

The White House said the Trump administration would also move forward with restrictions on Chinese investment and with stronger export controls meant to limit the access that Chinese people and companies have to US technology — a measure the administration said was for national security purposes. Those restrictions will be announced by June 30 and adopted soon after that, the administration said, adding that the US would also continue to pursue a trade case it has filed against China at the WTO involving intellectual property rights.

Trade talks between the two countries will continue, the statement said, and the US has asked Beijing to remove “all of its many trade barriers” that prevent American companies from doing business in China, and has also said that “tariffs and taxes between the two countries be reciprocal in nature and value.”

The White House has planned to send Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, to China on June 2 to continue the trade negotiations. The last round of talks concluded on May 19 with the countries announcing little progress toward resolving a long list of complaints. President Trump subsequently said he was not satisfied with the negotiations, and that they had a “long way to go.”

On Friday, Trump said he had reached a deal that would allow the Chinese telecom firm ZTE to remain in business, raising criticism and fears from Congress that he was backing off from his tougher promises on trade. ZTE has been hit with tough sanctions by the US, and its fate had become a bargaining chip in negotiations, with President Xi Jinping of China appealing directly to Trump for help.

Updated: May 29, 2018 — 10:36 pm

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