Navarro Hits at Mnuchin for U.S.-China Trade War Comments

Hugh Fox
June 2, 2018

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

The China Daily newspaper said the repeated United States claim that China had forced foreign firms to transfer their technologies to Chinese businesses was without evidence and was being used as an excuse to facilitate its trade protectionism.

The United States announced that it would move forward with tariffs on Chinese goods worth $50 billion, as well as restrictions on investment in critical technologies.

The tariffs decision also comes a week after treasury secretary Stephen Mnuchin said Trump's "trade war" with China had been placed "on hold".

The Trump administration has come under fire politically for appearing soft on ZTE, and the $200 billion trade agreement was widely perceived as a better deal for China than it was for the United States.

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The trademark approvals were dated May 7, a week before President Donald Trump extended an olive branch on ZTE in his trade tussle with China. "President Trump has the courage and vision to turn that around". The full list of imports that will be covered will be announced by June 15. The statement did not reiterate China's own previous threats to impose $50 billion in retaliatory tariffs on US goods.

The White House also said new restrictions on Chinese investment and enhanced export controls will be announced by June 30, with implementation soon after.

Navarro was part of the delegation Mnuchin led to Beijing in early May for the first round of talks, which produced no consensus and reportedly included a shouting match between the two men over the United States negotiating stance.

China has repeatedly said that it will push ahead with its development of high-tech industries and will not back down in the face of what it sees as threats from Washington. In addition, the USA will continue efforts to protect domestic technology and intellectual property, stop noneconomic transfers of industrially significant technology and intellectual property to China, and enhance access to the Chinese market, the White House said.

Lighthizer earlier this month said it would be "madness" to continue allowing China's state-owned investment firms to buy stakes in American technology companies.

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However, the USA has yet to publish a list of target products for the $100 billion, and the White House statement on Tuesday made no reference to the second potential tranche of duties.

This reductions may help the two nations reach a consensus at trade talks scheduled for this weekend.

Alongside this, it said it will continue to pursue litigation at the World Trade Organisation against China's "discriminatory technology licensing requirements".

If the new tough approach by the USA trade team is a negotiating tactic, China is warning it won't back down. China said the claims were unproven and sometimes speculative.

Navarro also noted that support for a hard line with China on trade had bipartisan support.

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William Zarit, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, said Wednesday that companies hope Beijing can be persuaded to ease curbs on investment and business activity.

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