Economy US plans tariffs on $50B worth of China imports

US plans tariffs on $50B worth of China imports

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Proposed tariffs aim to penalize China for alleged intellectual property theft through its technology transfer policies

The Trump administration on Tuesday announced plans to impose $50 billion worth of tariffs on 1,300 Chinese goods unless Beijing makes trade concessions.

The proposed 25 percent tariffs on electronics, machinery and aerospace products aim to penalize the country for what the administration calls intellectual property theft through polices that force U.S. companies to transfer their technology when setting up local units in China.

“The U.S. Trade Representative has determined that the acts, policies and practices of the Government of China related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation covered in the investigation are unreasonable or discriminatory and burden or restrict U.S. commerce,” the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in a statement. 

The 1,300 goods include stainless steel, iron products, aluminum alloy, hydraulic and gas turbines, aircraft propellers, dryers, water heaters, dishwashers and textile machines. 

“The value of the list is approximately $50 billion in terms of estimated annual trade value for calendar year 2018. This level is appropriate both in light of the estimated harm to the U.S. economy and to obtain elimination of China’s harmful acts, policies and practices,” the statement said. 

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said it will hold a public hearing on May 15 and comments could be submitted until May 22. 

Experts warn that most U.S. businesses will oppose the proposal since the tariffs would hurt American companies and consumers that benefit from cheaper products from China. 

The proposal could also increase tensions between the world’s two biggest economies and disrupt the complex supply chains in those countries. 

China strongly condemned the plans and said it is ready to take countermeasures.

“Disregarding strong representations by China, the United States announced tariff proposals that are completely unfounded, a typical unilateralist and protectionist practice that China strongly condemns and firmly opposes,” the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement released Wednesday, according to state news agency Xinhua.

“We have the confidence and ability to respond to any U.S. trade protectionist measures,” it said.

Earlier this week, China imposed tariffs on $3 billion worth of U.S. products in response to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. 

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