The Trump administration plans to impose tariffs worth as much as $60 billion on Chinese products.
The tariffs are expected as early as this week.
The administration intends to punish Beijing for intellectual property theft from American businesses.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is leading an investigation into China’s treatment of intellectual property. He is also reviewing policies that the U.S. believes force American companies to turn over their technological know-how as the price of doing business there. In addition, the administration is considering wide-ranging tariffs. They would cover everything from consumer electronics to shoes and clothing made in China. Furthermore, the administration would impose restrictions on Chinese investments in the U.S.
The U. S. has argued that China uses a range of practices to force companies to transfer IP. In addition, Chinese entities engage in widespread theft of U.S. trade secrets. China is seeking to become a leader in advanced manufacturing and artificial intelligence. U.S. businesses in China have long complained about being forced to hand over technology as the price of gaining access to the market.
Meanwhile, China’s foreign minister warned of Peking’s response. He said that China would have a “justified and necessary response” to any efforts to incite a trade war.
Most U.S. businesses agree with the Trump administration’s criticisms of China. But many disagree with the administration’s strategy. The U.S.-China Business Council believes that “tariffs will do more harm than good in bringing about an improvement in intellectual property protection for American companies in China.” Other business groups endorsed the proposed tariffs. “This would be a clear indication that he’s serious about ensuring there are consequences for intellectual property violations and other anti-competitive practices coming from China.” This according to Scott Paul, president of the union-backed Alliance for American Manufacturing.