$60b tariff on Chinese imports

WASHINGTON/Beijing – US President Donald Trump is seeking to impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports and will target the technology and telecommunications sectors, two people who had discussed the issue with the Trump administration said on Tuesday.

A third source who had direct knowledge of the administration’s thinking said the tariffs, associated with a “Section 301” intellectual property investigation, under the 1974 US Trade Act begun in August last year, could come “in the very near future”.

While the tariffs would be chiefly targeted at information technology, consumer electronics and telecoms, they could be much broader and the list could eventually run to 100 products.

The White House declined to comment on the size or timing of any move.

Washington is targeting Chinese high technology companies to punish them for China’s investment policies that effectively force US companies to give up their technology secrets in exchange for being allowed to operate in the country along with other allegations of intellectual property theft.

China runs a $375 billion trade surplus with the United States and when President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser visited Washington recently, the administration pressed him to come up with a way of reducing that number.

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