The White House on Friday announced it is slapping tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods in response to alleged intellectual property theft, another escalation in President Donald Trump’s trade-related acts against allies and rivals alike.
“This situation is no longer sustainable. China has, for example, long been engaging in several unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology,” President Donald Trump said in a statement released Friday morning that formally announced 25 percent import penalties on some Chinese-made products.
Since taking office, Trump has publicly touted his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping in a reflection of his apparent belief that foreign policy is in large part dependent on the personal relationships between heads of state. He did the same Friday, saying his “friendship with Xi” and U.S.-China relations “are both very important to me.”
“Trade between our nations, however, has been very unfair, for a very long time,” Trump said Friday. “China has, for example, long been engaging in several unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology.”
The new import penalties will cover what the White House on Friday described as items that “contain industrially significant technologies” it contends are part of Beijing’s plan to “dominate the emerging high-technology industries that will drive future economic growth for China, but hurt economic growth for the United States and many other countries.”
“The United States can no longer tolerate losing our technology and intellectual property through unfair economic practices,” Trump said in the statement.
Senior congressional Democrats have called for the Trump administration to be tougher on China, slamming the president for his decision to help troubled Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE after it violated U.S. sanctions while, until Friday, not cracking down harder on the alleged intellectual property thefts.
“The president has the potential to do more to correct China’s unfair trade policies than any president has had but he must be strong, tough and consistent,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a May 29 statement as the details of the now-implemented tariffs went public.
“While obviously more details are needed, this outline represents the kind of actions we have needed to take for a long time,” Schumer said then, “but the president must stick with it and not bargain it away.”