When Trump first directed US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to levy tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese exports in March, following a months-long investigation into intellectual property theft, the move was hailed as a victory for trade hawks in the Trump administration.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is due in Beijing on Saturday after the White House renewed its threat of 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods.
China has no reason to address issues brought up by the United States if the government's priorities appear to be constantly in flux, said Eric Altbach, senior vice president at Albright Stonebridge Group and former deputy assistant U.S. trade representative for China under President Barack Obama.
Trump has faced a backlash among lawmakers this month after announcing he would soften USA sanctions on the Chinese telecoms equipment maker ZTE, which neared collapse due to an April ban on purchasing crucial U.S. components. It said the final list of goods subject to a new 25% tariff would be released June 15, with more details on investment restrictions coming by the end of the month.
This statement was issued by United States of America days before the U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross visit to Beijing. China cut tariffs on US automobiles, and Trump has pledged support for ZTE, a Chinese company affected negatively by USA sanctions.
However, the list of products imported from China on which new tariffs could apply does include machinery used in the domestic manufacturing of apparel, footwear, and textile products.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said yesterday that Ross is aiming to negotiate "a framework" that could then turn into "binding agreements. between companies", CNBC reported.More news: This Is Why Kim Kardashian Visited The White House Yesterday
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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 USA negotiating stance.
The United States has also long complained that China forces US companies to share technology with Chinese firms as part of joint ventures in order to gain access to its market.
Navarro was not involved in the most recent round of talks in Washington. "If the US wants to play games, then China would be more than willing to play along and do so until the very end", it said. It announced that the U.S. would take multiple steps to protect domestic technology and intellectual property from certain discriminatory and burdensome trade practices by China.
Members of both parties in the House and Senate slammed the agreement the Trump administration reached with ZTE Friday, in which the Chinese firm agreed to remove its management team, hire American compliance officers, and pay a fine.
In response, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said it was "surprised" by the move but at the same time "somewhat expected" it. Those restrictions will be announced by June 30, the Trump administration says, and will also be implemented "shortly thereafter".
But when Trump subsequently said he would ease penalties against ZTE in order to save Chinese jobs, this drew a sharp backlash from his supporters.
The deal to reduce China's trade surplus with the US was separate from the USA probe into China's alleged theft of intellectual property.
The trade talks with China have come against the backdrop of Trump's efforts to hold a June summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which the president said Friday could get back on track after he nixed it a day earlier.