President Donald Trump signed an order Thursday that paves the way for imposing tariffs on as much as $60 billion worth of Chinese imports to punish Beijing for what he said is the theft of American technology and Chinese pressure on U.S. companies to hand it over.
The action is sparking fears of an intensifying trade war.
“It is the largest deficit of any country in the history of our world,” Trump said of the U.S.-China trade imbalance, blaming it for lost American jobs.
He said his action would make the country stronger and richer.
China has already warned that it will take “all necessary measures” to defend itself, raising the prospect of a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.
A Senior Trump Administration Official accused China of imposing unfair restrictions and regulations on foreign companies seeking to do business in China.
According to the official, U.S. companies are routinely required to transfer technology and intellectual property to Chinese companies in order to do business in China. The official also accused China of placing “substantial restrictions” on U.S. investment in China.
The Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai released the following statement on Facebook:
President Donald Trump is giving the United States Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, 15 days to recommend whether to impose tariffs on China and in which sectors. In addition, the United States is planning to file complaints against China at the World Trade Organization.
“There are some areas that you just have to protect yourself from,” Lighthizer said in an appearance Thursday at a U.S. Senate Finance Committee hearing. “They’re not going to change their attitude on these things. But we need to be in a position where U.S. industry is not wiped out because of it. And if we don’t do that, shame on us.”
CGTN’s Tian Wei interviewed Ambassador Cui about the tariffs:
China is already pushing back against the idea that it is employing unfair trade practices.
“China completely disagrees with, and also cannot accept, this so-called ‘economic invasion,’” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying. “The word ‘invasion’ cannot be used to label China in any way.”
On Friday, the Trump Administration’s plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports are set to take effect. Lighthizer said today Chinese imports will be affected, unlike products from Canada, Mexico, Europe, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Korea, which will be exempted.
Story by The Associated Press with additional information from CGTN.
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