Trump To Hit China With Billions Of Dollars In Trade Penalties, White House Reveals

Ryan Pickrell | China/Asia Pacific Reporter

The Trump administration revealed Tuesday that it still intends to crack down on unfair Chinese trade practices, including the theft of American intellectual property, despite cooling trade tensions.

To protect the so-called “crown jewels” of American technology and defend American interests against “harmful acts, policies, and practices that China uses to acquire our intellectual property,” the U.S. is implementing targeted investment restrictions, enhancing export control regimes, slapping tariffs on Chinese goods, and challenging China in the World Trade Organization, a senior administration revealed on background Tuesday.

The moves were characterized as “defensive measures” with bipartisan support.

These measures are meant to curb espionage and intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, export control evasion, suspicious state-sponsored efforts to acquire American technology companies, and questionable licensing practices.

The U.S. intends to implement “specific investment restrictions and enhanced export controls for Chinese persons and entities related to the acquisition of industrially significant technology” to protect American national security, specifically intellectual property, the White House said in a related statement. The specifics will be announced on June 30.

The White House announced plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion in Chinese imports “containing industrially significant technology,” indicating that the administration is concerned that these products involve technology stolen from U.S. companies. The final list of targeted products will be revealed on June 15, and the tariffs will go into effect shortly after that.

The tariffs will target industries and products affiliated with the “Made in China 2025” plan, an ambitious Chinese development project designed to give China an edge in key emerging industries, such as robotics and aviation. The tariffs will be implemented in accordance with Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 and based on the conclusions reached by an Office of the U.S. Trade Representative investigation earlier this year.

Implementation follows a presidential memorandum issued on March 22, triggering a major trade spat with China that has yet to be resolved. (RELATED: Trump Hits China With About $60 Billion In Trade Penalties Over Intellectual Property Theft)

“The United States will continue efforts to protect domestic technology and intellectual property, stop noneconomic transfers of industrially significant technology and intellectual property to China, and enhance access to the Chinese market,” the White House statement read.

“Discussions with China will continue on these topics, and the United States looks forward to resolving long-standing structural issues and expanding our exports by eliminating China’s severe import restrictions.”

This post was updated to include information from a relevant background call

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