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Trump administration announces new tariffs on Chinese tech goods amid trade disputes

The U.S. is announcing that it will impose a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods containing "industrially significant technology." The White House said in a statement on Tuesday that the tariff will cover goods related to the "Made in China 2025" program. The full list of imports that will be covered will be announced by June 15.

Mr. Trump has bemoaned the massive U.S. trade deficit with China — $337 billion last year — as evidence that Beijing has been complicit in abusive trading practices. The administration previously threatened China with $150 billion in tariffs before China agreed to "significantly increase" purchases of American goods and services in its effort to reduce the trade deficit earlier this month. A specific dollar amount was never announced. 

The White House wrote in its statement on Tuesday that the United States "will continue efforts to protect domestic technology and intellectual property, stop noneconomic transfers of industrially significant technology and intellectual property to China, and enhance access to the Chinese market." 

The White House also says the U.S. is planning new investment restrictions and export controls for "Chinese persons and entities related to the acquisition of industrially significant technology" as well as "pursue litigation at the World Trade Organization for violations of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights based on China's discriminatory practices for licensing intellectual property.

According to a translated statement following the announcement, China's commerce ministry responded, "the strategic statement issued by the White House is both surprising and expected." 

The statement added. "This is obviously contrary to the consensus reached between the two sides in Washington not long ago. No matter what measures the United States takes, China has confidence, ability, and experience to safeguard the interests of the Chinese people and the country's core interests. China urges the United States to act in accordance with the spirit of the joint statement."

U.S.-China Business Council President John Frisbie also responded to the tariff announcement, saying "We would like to see both sides put the threat of sanctions on hold and quickly get into negotiations to resolve these important issues."

Frisbie added, "We need solutions that will put the trade relationship on a sounder path for mutual prosperity, not sanctions that will do more harm than good. We encourage both sides to use the coming weeks to achieve that goal."

The announcement comes as the administration negotiates with China on a broad trade dispute. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is expected to travel to China later in the week for more talks. In its announcement on Tuesday, the White House continued to push for trade barriers to come down which they claim "make it both difficult and unfair to do business there."

The statement added, "The United States will request that tariffs and taxes between the two countries be reciprocal in nature and value.  Discussions with China will continue on these topics, and the United States looks forward to resolving long-standing structural issues and expanding our exports by eliminating China's severe import restrictions."