The White House made a sudden announcement that it will go ahead with placing $50 billion of fresh tariffs on a list of Chinese technology-related imports, contrary to sentiments expressed last week in a joint statement with Beijing to put punitive measures ‘on hold.’
According to an official statement, the final hit-list of Chinese imports – many of which are expected to be linked to Chinese high-technology manufacturing – will be released on June 15th, shortly followed by levies of 25%. Further restrictions on Chinese capital investment into the US will be made public by June 30th.
As the Wall Street Journal notes, the surprise move comes days before Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross meets with officials in Beijing for another bout of negotiations, suggesting that this could be a form of bargaining chip for the US team in obtaining further concessions from China.
Chinese state media issued a swift and critical response to the announcement. “China’s attitude, as always, is: we do not want to fight, but we are also not afraid to fight,” said one Xinhua reporter.
“China will continue to hold pragmatic consultations with the United States’ delegation and hope that the United States will act in accordance with the spirit of the joint statement,” the article read.