White House to hit China with tech tariffs ahead of trade meeting

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It said the final list of goods subject to a new 25% tariff would be released June 15, with more details on investment restrictions coming by the end of the month. Those tariffs will take effect "shortly thereafter".

The announced measures also come amid bipartisan criticism of the president's softening of penalties for ZTE, a Chinese telecom company that had traded with Iran and North Korea in defiance of USA sanctions. It is unclear how Tuesday's announcement will affect the broader talks, but it seems likely to reignite the burgeoning tensions between the two countries.

A day later, Mnuchin said Trump's government had put its punitive tariff plan "on hold while we try to execute the framework" agreement on reducing China's trade surplus with the United States, pegged at US$375 billion in 2017.

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Tensions between the US and China may have been reduced somewhat by Trump's action last week to ease sanctions that threatened the viability of Chinese telecom giant ZTE, in response to a personal request from President Xi Jinping. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is scheduled to visit Beijing on Saturday for a round of talks.

Trump is under pressure from Congress to stay tough on China, especially Chinese telecoms-equipment maker ZTE Corp. The new rules will prevent Chinese companies from investing in and getting access to technology developed in the U.S. that could be copied and used by Chinese firms or the Chinese government.

"The United States will request that China remove all of its many trade barriers", the White House said, "including non-monetary trade barriers, which make it both hard and unfair to do business there". The WTO case is based on United States allegations that Chinese firms unfairly acquire USA intellectual property through forced transfers and mandated partnerships.

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The White House said China had "pursued industrial policies and unfair trade practices including dumping, discriminatory non-tariff barriers, forced technology transfer, over capacity, and industrial subsidies that champion Chinese firms and make it impossible for many United States firms to compete on a level playing field".

Based on the recommendations of the US Trade Representative's office, Trump will announce "proposed investment restrictions and enhanced export controls" aimed at China by June 30, according to a White House announcement Tuesday.

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