iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump will announce Thursday his plans for tariffs on up to $50 billion annually in Chinese imports, designed as retaliation for an administration report that will outline Beijing’s violation of U.S. intellectual property rights.
In a briefing call with reporters, administration officials said the president will sign a memorandum directing the U.S. Trade Representative to publish a proposed list of products in 15 days along with an intended tariff increase, after which the list will be opened up for public comment. Primary sectors subject to the tariffs, according to the White House, will be aerospace, information communication technology and machinery.
“Based upon the harm that is substantiated by the report, I think that about $50 billion is designed to offset the gains that the Chinese have received through their unfair trade practices,” an administration official said.
The memorandum will also direct the U.S. Trade Representative to file a dispute proceeding against China with the World Trade Organization aimed at targeting what the Trump administration is calling China’s “discriminatory licensing practices.” The president will also direct Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to propose within 60 days other potential executive actions he can pursue that will restrict investment by China in sensitive U.S. technology.
“Under my administration, the theft of American prosperity will end,” Trump is expected to say in his remarks. “We’re going to defend our industry and create a level playing field for the American worker — finally.”
The announcement comes as the administration begins rolling out new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, and as China has already threatened retaliatory actions against any punitive trade actions by the U.S.
Economists have expressed growing worry that the president’s heavy-handed moves could spark a trade war.
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