US to impose USD 16 billion import tariffs on China

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Washington: The Trump administration announced today that it would impose 25 per cent tariffs on imports of 279 items from China amounting to USD 16 billion.

This is the second tranche of such tariffs and comes into effect on August 23.

Washington had already imposed tariffs on USD 34 billion on July 6 but held off on a final USD 16 billion in goods as a result of concerns from US companies.

This is part of the US’ response to China’s “unfair trade practices” related to the forced transfer of American technology and intellectual property, the US Trade Representative (USTR) said.

After coming to power, the Trump administration has initiated steps to address the issue of massive balance of trade with China and to the alleged Chinese theft of intellectual property.

In March 2018, the USTR had released the findings of its “exhaustive” Section 301 investigation that found China’s acts, policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation are “unreasonable and discriminatory and burden US commerce”.

The investigation had revealed that China uses joint venture requirements, foreign investment restrictions, and administrative review and licensing processes to require or pressure technology transfer from US companies and it deprives US companies of the ability to set market-based terms in licensing and other technology-related negotiations.

It also found that China directs and unfairly facilitates the systematic investment in, and acquisition of, US companies and assets to generate large-scale technology transfer.

The USTR claimed that China conducts and supports cyber intrusions into US commercial computer networks to gain unauthorized access to commercially valuable business information.

The world’s two biggest economies are locked in a trade dispute.

But there seems no solution at sight as the Trump administration prepares for tariffs of up to 25 per cent on an additional USD 200 billion in Chinese products.