Trump's next trade target: China's IP theft

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. USTR has threatened in the past to downgrade India to a ‘priority foreign country’ which could invite sanctions

Trump's next trade target: China's IP theft

China's metals industry issued the country's most explicit threat yet in the row, urging the government to retaliate by targeting US coal - a sector that is central to Trump's political base and his election pledge to restore American industries and blue-collar jobs.

Reviewing Xi's diplomatic footprints, Wang said the president has been personally involved-and has acted as the chief architect-in planning and executing China's top-level diplomacy.

Other officials at the EU, by far the biggest trading partner of the United States by value, have warned it could take counter-measures including European tariffs on USA oranges, tobacco and bourbon.

Trump also hinted at further punitive measures aimed at China to rein in a bilateral trade deficit with China pegged at a record United States dollars 276 billion a year ago.

The official also expect higher USA tariffs to put South Korean carmakers, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, at a disadvantage in the US market as it would increase their costs. With North Korea now focused on driving a wedge between the USA and South Korea with its offer of negotiations on the future of its nuclear and missile program, Beijing may also spot an opportunity to revive closer economic ties with Seoul. We're losing with China USD 500 billion a year.

Japan said the move would have a "big impact" on the countries' close bilateral ties, while China said it was "resolutely opposed" to the decision and South Korea said it may file a complaint to the World Trade Organization.

During the Olympics, North Korea had stopped its missiles tests and the US and South Korea had halted military drills, and this proved China's proposal for a "dual suspension" was correct to improve relations, he said.

More importantly, Trump could ask for quotas and tariffs on a wider range of Chinese products, including furniture, auto parts and electronics, if the U.S. government concludes that China has engaged in unfair intellectual property and industrial policy practices.

Australia's trade minister said he had preliminary discussions with the US trade representative, Robert Lighthizer. The emphasis on domestic manufacturing and trade deficit overlooks the transformation of the USA economy in recent decades. China, with which the USA runs the biggest deficit, will only be marginally affected. The latest tariffs threats were just one more and some industry executives said they were prepared for it.

In his remarks, Wang issued one of China's most forceful responses yet to the looming trade actions.

Such a hardline stance could help dislodge domestic political barriers to reform. The U.S. exported more and more of services and imported more and more of goods. But when push comes to shove, China has always relied on those same engines to maintain the torrid pace of economic growth it needs to keep its massive population employed. "In the event of a trade war, China will make a justified and necessary response".

While precious metal and diamonds are part of a round trade (India also exports $ 11 billion worth of the same to US), the consequential items are machinery, optical and medical instruments etc., reducing the tariff on which will largely benefit Indian consumers even as it helps USA exports to India. "The U.S.is acting swiftly on Intellectual Property theft". For some reason, they've chose to embark on these negotiations unilaterally, instead of mustering support from partners like the European Union, which also suffer from a deluge of Chinese imports.

Still, from my vantage, China's reaction to Trump's lurch toward protectionism has been remarkably subdued.

Christopher Matthews is a writer who splits his time between New York City and Accra, Ghana, with an interest in the intersection of markets, the economy, and public policy.

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