US to unveil trade sanctions against China today

The US trade deficit with China ran to a record $375 billion last year but US exports to the country were also at a record

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Washington: President Donald Trump is expected to announce sanctions against China for the theft of US intellectual property on Thursday, a White House official said, which is likely to trigger retaliation from Beijing and stoke fears of a global trade war.

US administration is poised to unveil actions following an investigation into China’s state-led, market-distorting efforts to force, pressure, and steal US technologies and intellectual property.

Beijing has already warned the Trump administration against the move, urging him not act emotionally.

There was no indication of the size and scope of the tariffs, which U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Wednesday would target China’s high-technology sector and could also include restrictions on Chinese investments in the United States.

The White House said Donald Trump would sign a presidential memorandum targeting China’s economic aggression at 12:30 PM (1630 GMT) on Thursday.

 

The investigation by the United States under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act has identified theft from and coercion of U.S. companies to disclose their intellectual property as well as purchases by Chinese state funds of U.S. companies for their technical knowledge.

Trump has already announced a raft of sanctions on foreign-produced steel and aluminium off the cuff. That move prompted the resignation of top economic adviser Gary Cohn, a stock market selloff, legal disputes and threats of retaliatory measures.

Today, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned that the prospect of a trade war as a growing threat to the world’s largest economy. But the impulsive president is showing no sign of backing down.

The US trade deficit with China ran to a record $375 billion last year but US exports to the country were also at a record.

Washington has long accused Beijing of forcing US companies to turn over proprietary commercial information and intellectual property as a condition of operating in China.