Published: Sat, June 02, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

China slams U.S. for 'sudden flip-flops' in trade policy

China slams U.S. for 'sudden flip-flops' in trade policy

"Punitive tariffs are always a last resort, but if Beijing is unable or unwilling to stop intellectual property theft and other unfair trade practices that cost American workers jobs and American businesses hundreds of billions of dollars every year, tariffs are the best leverage we have".

The China Daily newspaper said the repeated U.S. claim that China had forced foreign firms to transfer their technologies to Chinese businesses was without evidence and was being used as an excuse to facilitate its trade protectionism.

When he announced the initial plan to impose tariffs, the president also instructed the Treasury Department to draw up new curbs on investments in the U.S.by Chinese companies.

When China announced it would retaliate to tariffs in April, Trump quickly responded by saying he would direct the US trade representative to determine whether to triple the value of Chinese goods targeted with tariffs in retaliation.

The US watchdog said the approvals, and other Trump family business connections to China, "raised potential ethics issues".

It will also respond to the threats from US President Donald Trump by imposing tariffs on up to $150 billion of Chinese goods.

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 Corp.to stay in business.

By mid-June, the United States will complete a list of roughly $50 billion worth of Chinese imports that will receive a 25 percent tariff.

Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross is scheduled to visit China on Saturday to negotiate the details of that agreement. "We urge the U.S.to honor its words and meet China halfway in the spirit of our joint statement.", said Hua Chunying of the Chinese foreign ministry.

He acknowledged the USA had limited options for keeping China from developing its domestic industries, but said "what we can do is we can stop them from putting our high-tech industries out of business with the tariffs".

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

"If Beijing was under the impression that Trump's $50 billion of tariffs were actually on hold, they may find this confusing", Chad Bown, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said. The problem we have now is every time we innovate something new, China comes in and either buys it or steals it.

Beijing is in the midst of talks with Washington on possible measures to narrow its trade surplus by increasing imports. She echoed an earlier statement by the Chinese Commerce Ministry that the White House announcement went against the recent "consensus" reached by the two sides. From the question of tariffs and restrictions on investment to the case against China represented to World Trade Organisation, it all began when the USA carried out an investigation.

While trade disputes remain a risk to China's economic outlook, the countries will likely find common ground, said Robin Xing, chief China economist at Morgan Stanley.

The White House announced Tuesday that the crackdown on Chinese trade would take effect in June.

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