Trump's on again, off again strategy on China may backfire

Trump's on again, off again strategy on China may backfire

The White House announced that it will impose a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion of goods "imported from China containing industrially significant technology", a move targeted at Chinese theft of intellectual property from USA companies.

President Donald Trump is protecting American technology by reigniting a trade fight between the USA and China, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Wednesday.

The White House announcement said it also would impose curbs on Chinese investment and purchases of high-tech exports.

"The final list of covered imports will be announced by June 15, 2018, and tariffs will be imposed on those imports shortly thereafter", the administration said in a statement.

Hitting back at the Trump administration's threat to impose a 25 per cent tariff on $50 billion goods imported from China, foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, "In worldwide relations, every flip-flop and U-turn by a country will undermine and hurt its own credibility".

President Donald Trump's unpredictability has made President Xi Jinping look rather prescient.

"We urge the United States to keep its promise, and meet China halfway in the spirit of the joint statement", spokeswoman Hua Chunying was quoted as saying at a regular news briefing.

She urged the United States to "follow the spirit" of the recent consensus reached between Washington and Beijing, to abandon trade wars and back off imposing tariffs on each other. Mnuchin also forecast a doubling in sales of USA energy products to the Chinese market, increasing energy exports by $50 billion to $60 billion in the next three to five years.

"We will counteract whatever comes our way, and if the United States insists on acting recklessly, China will inevitably adopt firm and forceful measures".

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The move has infuriated China, which on Wednesday lashed out and threatened to fight back if Washington is looking for a trade war, days ahead of a planned visit by US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to Beijing.

After Beijing promised to retaliate in kind to any duties, the president raised the ante to slap tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese goods.

There are a few tactical reasons the Trump administration may have decided on Tuesday to go ahead with tariffs and investment restrictions.

It's the latest twist in a trade dispute between the USA and China that has roiled financial markets for months and prompted the International Monetary Fund to warn of a trade war that could undermine the broadest global upswing in years.

The American Chamber of Commerce in China said this country can no longer justify the protections it was granted as a developing country when it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

The Trump administration has already won a WTO trade dispute with China in February.

China has made progress on reforms but should allow market forces to play a more decisive role and accelerate its opening up to the rest of the world, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said.

The White House announcement came on the heels of stiff criticism from lawmakers of the White House 's negotiating tactics and willingness to soften tough penalties in some cases with no benefit to the US.

In a brief statement, the White House said President Donald Trump is planning "multiple steps" to protect domestic technology and intellectual property from certain "discriminatory and burdensome trade practices by China".

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