United States companies uneasy about Trump threat but hope for progress

United States companies uneasy about Trump threat but hope for progress

Then, on Tuesday, the White House abruptly changed its tune.

It noted that Chinese tariffs on USA goods are much higher than corresponding US tariffs, and said the US government would "defend America's intellectual property and proprietary technology from theft and other threats" by imposing a 25% tariff on $50 billion in goods made in China that contained "industrially significant technology".

China's commerce ministry reacted swiftly on Wednesday with a short statement saying it was surprised and saw it as contrary to the consensus reached by the two sides.

Threats of a trade war between the United States and China had hit financial markets hard, although now most economists believe the two will manage to avoid a major economic conflict.

"China's attitude, as always, is: we do not want to fight, but we are also not afraid to fight", it said in a commentary.

The latest signal from the White House sounds like the more hawkish wing of Trump's trade team is trying to amplify its hard line, after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said this month that any talk of a trade war was suspended for now.

In a statement on Tuesday (May 29), the White House said tariffs of 25 per cent will be applied to Chinese imports containing important technologies, including those related to Beijing's Made-in-China 2025 development programme.

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State news agency Xinhua said China hoped that the U.S. would not act impulsively but stood ready to fight to protect its interests.

There is room to increase exports to China by selling more agricultural commodities and energy products and China has agreed in principle to import more, but the two sides do not have a firm agreement.

The countries said China would "significantly increase" purchases of United States goods and services to reduce their trade imbalance, a top Trump administration demand, and pledged to continue talks. Republican Senator Marco Rubio and other lawmakers from both parties have criticized Trump's leniency toward ZTE, arguing that doing business with the company presents a risk to national security.

The applications had been submitted in March 2017 and give Ivanka's company trademark rights on goods including bath mats, textiles and baby blankets, CREW said.

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. This could be an attempt to gain influence ahead of those talks, saidWilliam Reinsch, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who also served in the Clinton administration.

Trump is under pressure from Congress to stay tough on China, especially Chinese telecoms-equipment maker ZTE Corp.

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