As White House moves to finalise trade sanctions on China, US delegation set to reach Beijing to resolve dispute

Washington: US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he is moving to finalise trade sanctions against China even as a US delegation is set to travel to Beijing for talks to resolve the dispute.

 As White House moves to finalise trade sanctions on China, US delegation set to reach Beijing to resolve dispute

File image of US president Donald Trump. AP

The White House said the planned sanctions announced in March, largely focused on China's theft of American intellectual property, were still in the works and details would be announced in the coming month.

It was yet another apparent change of course for Trump, who veers from harsh threats to promises of compromise and back again on trade and other more sensitive issues.

Despite announcing a truce in the trade hostilities less than 10 days ago, after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said threatened tariffs on Chinese goods were "on hold," the White House signaled it was ready to pull the trigger on a broad array of penalties.

"From now on, we expect trading relationships to be fair and to be reciprocal," in a statement, which spelled out a list of long-standing US trade grievances," Trump said in a statement.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry said the move breached the recent consensus reached between Washington and Beijing.

"Whatever measures the United States takes, China has the confidence, capability and experience to defend the interests of Chinese people and the core interests of the country," the ministry said in a statement published by official new agency Xinhua.

The US trade sanctions announced in March, including restrictions on Chinese investment, export controls and 25 per cent tariffs on as much as 50 billion US dollars in Chinese tech goods, remain under development, the White House said.

The final list of Chinese imports covered by the tariffs list will be announced on 15 June , and imposed shortly thereafter, while the proposed investment restrictions and enhanced export controls will be announced by 30 June, according to the statement.

Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on an additional 100 billion dollars in Chinese goods as well if Beijing retaliates.

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

In addition, as part of the ongoing talks "the United States will request that China remove all of its many trade barriers, including non-monetary trade barriers, which make it both difficult and unfair to do business there."

The announcement, which offered little new information, comes as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross prepares to travel to Beijing this week for another round of talks aimed at resolving the conflict, which includes a threat of matching sanctions from China on US goods.

The White House issued a second statement listing the details of many complaints against China, including dumping of goods into the US market at below market value, high tariffs and overcapacity, likely referring to steel and aluminium, which are subject to another set of harsh US tariffs.

In addition to the bilateral talks with Beijing, the US also will continue to pursue the complaints filed in the World Trade Organisation as well as the cases against individual products.

Updated Date: May 30, 2018 11:01:58 IST