US threatens trade war against China
23 March 2018
The Trump administration has opened a trade war against China by announcing that tariffs will be imposed on up to $60 billion worth of Chinese exports to the United States. It has also launched a treasury investigation to devise measures to prevent Chinese investment in industries with technologies that the US regards as strategic.
President Donald Trump unveiled the measures yesterday, following a seven-month investigation by the administration, targeting China, under Section 301 of the 1974 US Trade Act.
The administration has drawn up a list of more than 1,000 products that could be targeted. The details will be released within the next few days, after which businesses will have 30 days in which to respond before a final decision is made.
The treasury has been ordered to draw up recommendations within 60 days to lay out specific restrictions on investments by Chinese companies, state-owned enterprises and sovereign wealth funds in the US.
Both sets of measures will target 10 industries that China is seeking to advance in its “Made in China 2025” industry policy, including information technology, aerospace, energy-saving vehicles and medical devices.
Administration officials initially said the annual value of the goods to be hit by tariffs was $50 billion. But Trump cited a figure of $60 billion, remarking as he signed his order that “this is the first of many.” He described the $375 billion US trade deficit with China as the “largest of any country in the history of the world.” It was “out of control” and he wanted it reduced by $100 billion “immediately.”
Speaking to a Senate hearing yesterday, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the Chinese products to be targeted had been…