White House puts $50 billion worth of tariffs on China

In a statement Tuesday, President Donald Trump's administration said the US will take steps against China's "certain discriminatory and burdensome trade practices" - including a 25 percent tariff on Chinese imports "containing industrially significant technology".

In a joint statement on Saturday, the countries said China would "significantly increase" purchases of United States goods and services to reduce their trade imbalance, a key demand from President Donald Trump and his team.

"The United States will implement specific investment restrictions and enhanced export controls for Chinese persons and entities related to the acquisition of industrially significant technology, the White House said in a statement".

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President Donald Trump signaled his intention to impose tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports and curbs on investments in sensitive technology, sending a hawkish message to Beijing days before the latest round of trade talks between the world's two largest economies. "The final list of covered imports will be announced by June 15, 2018, and tariffs will be imposed on those imports shortly thereafter", it noted.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is scheduled to travel to China this week for another round of discussions. The administration previously threatened China with $150 billion in tariffs before China agreed to "significantly increase" purchases of American goods and services in its effort to reduce the trade deficit earlier this month. No matter what measures the United States takes, China has confidence, ability, and experience to safeguard the interests of the Chinese people and the country's core interests.

The announced measures also come amid bipartisan criticism of the president's softening of penalties for ZTE, a Chinese telecom company that had traded with Iran and North Korea in defiance of US sanctions.

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A day later, Mnuchin said Trump's government had put its punitive tariff plan "on hold while we try to execute the framework" agreement on reducing China's trade surplus with the U.S., pegged at US$375 billion in 2017.

"We're putting the trade war on hold", Mnuchin told Fox News last weekend.

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If the two sides fail to reach an agreement and the United States moves forward with tariffs, Chinese officials have said they plan to retaliate with tariffs of their own on USA exports such as soybeans.

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