China vows to fight Washington on tariff hike

Chinese and U.S. flags are set up for a signing ceremony during a visit by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao at China's Ministry of Transport in Beijing China

The new tariff is part of one of three major steps that the USA is taking based on the 22 March memorandum signed by President Donald Trump.

"The United States will continue efforts to protect domestic technology and intellectual property, stop noneconomic transfers of industrially significant technology and intellectual property to China, and enhance access to the Chinese market", the White House also said.

According to an official statement, the final hit-list of Chinese imports - many of which are expected to be linked to Chinese high-technology manufacturing - will be released on June 15, shortly followed by levies of 25%.

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 program, the White House said. But this latest flip-flop could damage the credibility of the USA and President Trump. The Donald Trump administration added that it would crack down on "illegal" Chinese trade practices by June 30. Mnuchin also forecast a doubling in sales of US energy products to the Chinese market, increasing energy exports by $50 billion to $60 billion in the next three to five years.

Last week, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration would stand down on imposing tariffs while the two sides continued negotiations to avoid a trade war.

"From now on, we expect trading relationships to be fair and to be reciprocal", President Donald Trump said in a statement.

Hua declined to say whether Tuesday's announcement might disrupt plans for US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to visit Beijing on Saturday for more talks. And last month, the USA began announcing specific tariffs, prompting a tit-for-tat of escalating proposals and retaliatory threats.

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"After lengthy second round of talks in Washington, the two sides issued a joint statement vowing not to launch a trade war against each other".

In the announcement, the USA government listed a range of grievances against Chinese trade practices, ranging from product dumping to industrial subsidies to forced technology transfer. If the fight is truly about intellectual property theft, the United States could likely recruit some of its allies to help apply pressure.

Lastly, the White House said it will continue to pursue litigation at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against China.

The White House announcement came on the heels of stiff criticism from lawmakers of the White House 's negotiating tactics and willingness to soften tough penalties in some cases with no benefit to the US.

The China Daily newspaper said the repeated USA claim that Beijing had forced foreign firms to transfer their technologies to Chinese businesses was without evidence and was being used as an excuse to facilitate its trade protectionism.

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.

"China's success means that it can no longer credibly defend protectionist policies on the grounds that it is still a "developing country", said the American chamber.

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