Trump's trade agenda hits stumbling blocks in "easy" fight

Trump's trade agenda hits stumbling blocks in

Trump's trade agenda hits stumbling blocks in "easy" fight

In an unexpected change in tone, the United States said on Tuesday that it still held the threat of imposing tariffs on $US50 billion ($A66 billion) of imports from China unless Beijing addressed the issue of theft of American intellectual property.

The change would come as President Donald Trump's administration attempts to crack down on what it says is theft of US intellectual property by China.

Washington also said it will press ahead with restrictions on investment by Chinese companies in the United States as well as export controls for goods exported to China.

Details of the investment and export controls will be announced by June 30 and the final tariff list will be published by June 15. The full list of imports that will be covered will be announced by June 15. The communist regime has also engaged in rampant intellectual property theft.

While the trade dispute poses a risk to China's economic outlook, the two countries will likely find common ground, said Robin Xing, chief China economist at Morgan Stanley. China hit back at that, with a foreign ministry spokeswoman saying on Wednesday that China would respond accordingly if the US insisted on unilateral measures.

"They engage in a whole range of unfair trade practices, they run up a US$370 billion trade surplus with us, which costs us over a million factory jobs a year", Navarro said in an interview with National Public Radio.

Such practices "champion Chinese firms and make it impossible for many USA firms to compete on a level playing field", the White House said.

On Wednesday, China's commerce ministry said the USA delegation had arrived in Beijing and the teams from both countries would discuss on coming up with a consensus over the next few days.

"Trump is going on offense, reverting to his earlier instincts on China and re-empowering the trade hawks in his Cabinet", Eurasia Group said.

"Last week, the President revealed the utter hollowness of his promises by pledging the American government resources to a Chinese company that has violated U.S. sanctions by selling technology to North Korea and Iran, and that is a known cyber security risk to the United States", she said. The Commerce Ministry didn't respond to questions about the status of the meeting, but the American Embassy said a delegation of trade, agriculture and treasury officials had arrived in the Chinese capital to make preparations. "We are very surprised by the White House statement". The status of the agreement is unclear now that USA tariffs look set to go forward.

The moves come after the Chinese government and Trump administration officials agreed to the outline of a trade truce earlier this month.

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

"From now on, we expect trading relationships to be fair and to be reciprocal", said Mr Trump in a statement released with the fact-sheet.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is scheduled to travel to China this weekend for further discussions.

Either way, repeated changes to the U.S. strategy on China may only bog down talks with Beijing moving forward, Reinsch said.

"The Chinese government is known for using their military's cyber capabilities to hack into private U.S. tech firms, stealing IP, then transferring the technology to state-run companies who profit from its development", he said.

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