United States files trade complaint against China over licensing practices

United States files trade complaint against China over licensing practices”

China said Friday that it planned to raise tariffs on a $3 billion list of USA goods, including pork, apples and steel pipes in response to the steel and aluminum duties earlier announced by Trump. USA agricultural exports to China stood at $19.6 billion a year ago, with soybean shipments accounting for $12.4 billion.

"China doesn't hope to be in a trade war, but is not afraid of engaging in one", the Chinese commerce ministry responded in a statement.

In response to the move, China's Ministry of Commerce on Friday urged the United States to "pause on the brink of a precipice" and make prudent decisions so as not to put bilateral trade relations in jeopardy.

Trump said on Thursday the tariffs were targeting what he called Beijing's economic aggression following a six-month-long investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. That effectively creates room for potential talks to address Trump's allegations on intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers.

Trump said he views the Chinese as "a friend", and both sides are in the midst of negotiations.

Electrical goods and tech are the largest USA import items from China.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry announced plans on Friday to levy 15 per cent tariffs on 120 types of USA products, including fruit, wine and steel pipes, worth US$977 million.

China has always said it will not hold talks with the US within the framework of the Section 301 probe, Chen Fuli, director-general of the commerce ministry's department of treaty and law, told reporters.

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In the past, Beijing has reacted angrily to such moves, saying they are provocative. "They won't clip the wings of China Inc", he said.

China's goods exports to the United States rose by $43 billion in 2017 alone.

"It's not clear what the Trump administration's bottom line is", said Scott Kennedy, the head of China studies at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

That depends on whether President Donald Trump will settle for a reduction in China's USA trade surplus or hold out for sweeping changes to China's industrial policies. The U.S. delegation cast the only "no" vote, while Britain, Japan, and Australia were among those abstaining.

Trump's announcement of broader tariffs directed specifically at China sent Asian equities tumbling as investors feared an escalating trade war. It allows unrestricted travel by US officials to meet with members of Taiwan's government and for Taiwanese officials to visit the USA under "respectful conditions", during which they are allowed to meet with their counterparts, including those from the departments of state and defence.

But fundamental changes such as joint venture requirements that often can not be negotiated without technology transfers and industrial policies aimed at acquiring and investing in more USA technology firms will not come without significant protracted pressure on China - and economic pain for the United States. The sparring between China and the USA has cast a spotlight on hardware makers such as Apple, which assemble the majority of their products in China for export to other countries.

During an event at the White House, the US President said that imposing tariffs on China is "going to make the US a much stronger and a much richer nation".

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