Trump plows ahead on China tariff threats, investment curbs

Ivanka Trump granted China trademarksMore

Ivanka Trump granted China trademarksMore

The White House also announced new restrictions on Chinese investment and US exports of high-tech goods to China.

"Chinese and U.S. envoys sparred at the World Trade Organization on Monday over U.S. President Donald Trump's claims that China steals American ideas, the subject of two lawsuits and a White House plan to slap huge punitive tariffs on Chinese goods". An American business group appealed to China to allow more access to its state-dominated economy ahead of a visit by Ross for trade talks.

Its tougher stance comes as President Donald Trump prepares for a June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whose key diplomatic backer is China, and as Washington steps up efforts to counter what it sees as Beijing's efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

Trump's trade and economic officials have been divided on how hard to go after China, but have nonetheless been pressing China to cut down its large trade surplus with the United States and curb its aggressive policies to build up domestic companies at the expense of foreign competitors. He threatened tariffs on as much as $150 billion worth of Chinese imports, prompting tit-for-tat threats by Beijing.

"No matter what the actions that the USA plans to take, China has the confidence, the capability and the experience to defend the core interests of the people and the nation", the statement said.

The spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, declined to say whether Tuesday's announcement might disrupt plans for Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to visit Beijing for talks starting Saturday.

In mid-May, China had agreed to increase purchases of US agricultural and energy products and last week, the US Commerce Department told lawmakers it had struck a deal to put Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE back in business. The Ministry said the White House's announcement "is contrary to the consensus the two sides have previously reached", according to China's official news agency, Xinhua. "We lost the trade war long ago".

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Critics had accused the administration of going soft on China after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said tariffs were on hold while the two sides continue trade talks. If the fight is truly about intellectual property theft, the United States could likely recruit some of its allies to help apply pressure.

But earlier this month, China and the United States pledged not to launch a trade war.

"For many years, China has pursued industrial policies and unfair trade practices ... that champion Chinese firms and make it impossible for many United States firms to compete on a level playing field", the White House said in a statement.

Either way, repeated changes to the USA strategy on China may only bog down talks with Beijing moving forward, Reinsch said.

CGTN's Mike Walter spoke with Ronce Almond about the latest updates in the US-China trade dispute.

But there had been some hope among free traders and the anti-tariff camp that the stiffer tariffs would ever ultimately go into effect after the two countries launched a trade dialogue earlier this month in Beijing.

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