China slams surprise USA trade announcement, says ready to fight

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The White House says it plans to impose 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods that contain "industrially-significant technology" as trade talks between United States and China continue. The White House said a list of products would be announced June 15. While most visas are issued for the longest possible length of time under law, the new policy will allow US officials to put a one-year cap on visas for Chinese graduate students who are "studying in fields like robotics, aviation and high-tech manufacturing", according to the Associated Press. "What we're having with China is a trade dispute, plain and simple", US National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro said, referring to Mnuchin's May 20 comment that trade action against China was "on hold".

The US will also continue to pursue litigation at the World Trade Organisation for violations of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights based on China " s discriminatory practices for licensing intellectual property, the statement said.

The move has infuriated China, which on Wednesday lashed out and threatened to fight back if Washington is looking for a trade war, days ahead of a planned visit by US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to Beijing.

Commerce Secretary Ross is scheduled to visit Beijing from June 2 to June 4 to try and get China to agree to firm numbers for additional US exports to the country. He said the two countries were in talks and had made "meaningful progress".

The White House said the restrictions followed a seven-month USA investigation into China's handling of data and intellectual property, which wrapped up in late March.

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Mr. Trump has often talked about challenging what he has described as China's unfair trade practices, but his advisers are deeply divided over the best course for doing so.

The White House claimed that China's intellectual property theft alone costs U.S. innovators billions of dollars a year, and China accounts for 87 per cent of counterfeit goods seized coming into the United States.

The trade representative's almost 200-page report outlining China's trade practices alleges, among other things, that these policies "deprive USA companies of the ability to set market-based terms in licensing and other technology related negotiations with Chinese companies and undermine United States companies' control over their technology in China".

In early April, the White House had released a list of $50bn worth of products it would target with tariffs.

Six weeks ago, the US Commerce Department banned ZTE, the fourth-largest smartphone maker in the US, from buying crucial parts from American companies after it was determined that the company violated terms of a 2017 deal in which it admitted it had violated sanctions on Iran and North Korea. "While advancing equitable trade policies between foreign nations and the United States is critical, implementing such tariffs will have a long-lasting negative impact on hardworking Central Valley farmers who are already struggling".

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