Prime News, International (Washington), March 23:- President Donald Trump will announce tariffs on Chinese imports on Thursday, a White House official said, in a move aimed at curbing theft of U.S. technology that is likely to trigger retaliation from Beijing and stoke fears of a global trade war.
There was no indication of the size and the scope of tariffs, which U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Wednesday would target China’s high technology sector and which could also include restrictions on Chinese investments in the United States. Other sectors like apparel could also be hit.
“Tomorrow the president will announce the actions he has decided to take based on USTR’s 301 investigations into China’s state-led, market-distorting efforts to force, pressure, and steal U.S. technologies and intellectual property,” the official said.
The investigation undertaken by the United States under the Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act has identified theft from and coercion of U.S. companies to disclose their intellectual property as well as purchases by Chinese state funds of U.S. companies for their technical knowledge.
Lighthizer told the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, a top economic body, that the aim would be to minimize the impact of any tariffs on U.S. consumers.
China has threatened to retaliate by hitting U.S. agricultural exports if tariffs on Chinese imports worth up to $60 billion are announced by Washington.
“The remedies, in my judgment at least, would be one, doing something on the tariff front, and two, doing something on the investment front, and then perhaps other things,” Lighthizer, a lawyer and veteran trade negotiator said.
The United States runs a hefty trade deficit with China of $375 billion, caused largely by its savings deficit and rising budget deficit. Estimates of the cost of counterfeit goods, pirated software, and theft of trade secrets and could be as high as $600 billion, according to one influential study.
Talk of a global trade war emerged earlier this month when Trump announced hefty tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, aimed at hitting Chinese over-production, but which also hit key allies like Canada, Mexico and the European Union. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).