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Trump eyes more tariffs on Chinese goods

Trump expected to impose new tariffs on China

A U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) official would not comment on reports that President Trump will announce aggressive new tariffs and trade restrictions on China this week. On a conference call with reporters, the official said he did not want to get ahead of Mr. Trump's decision on the USTR's Section 301 investigation. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is probing whether China has violated U.S. Intellectual property rights and technology development. 

Multiple outlets have reported Mr. Trump is slated to announce at least $30 billion dollars worth of tariffs on various Chinese imports on Thursday. The USTR official would not provide any details on how substantial these tariffs would be or when they would be rolled out but said that the USTR has strong evidence that China has engaged in practices that are "deeply concerning to the administration," and it "raises very severe questions about China and its commitment to these type of market-oriented practices they have offered to engage in for so many years." 

Some of the practices include accessing "sensitive commercial information and trade secrets" of U.S. companies, pressuring technology transfers from U.S. Companies to Chinese entities, and licensing technology to Chinese entities on "non-market based terms." 

Earlier this month, Mr. Trump announced a 25-percent tariff on steel and a 10-percent tariff on aluminum with exemptions for Canada and Mexico until the North American Free Trade Agreement is renegotiated

Mr. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to begin a comprehensive economic dialogue between the two countries in April of 2017 when Xi visited Mar-a-Lago shortly after Mr. Trump's inauguration. The official said that since this meeting, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin attempted to engage in serious dialogue with their counterparts, but the administration was not able to resolve long-running concerns. 

"As of today, the administration has not been satisfied with the type of responses we have been getting from China, and now we are getting very close to the end of this Section 301 investigation," the official added. "So the president would have final say in terms of what we end up doing here." 

The official added that China has historically used periods of dialogue with the U.S. to "delay and run out the clock and make you ask for things they already said they were going to do." 

During an appearance before the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee earlier on Wednesday, Lighthizer told the committee that his suggestion to remedy issues with China would involve tariffs. 

"We are losing that to China in ways that are not reflective of the underlying economics," he said. 

"The remedies, in my judgment at least, would be one, doing something on the tariff front, and two, doing something on the investment front, and then perhaps other things," Lighthizer added. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has warned annual tariffs on Chinese goods would be "devastating," and more than 40 trade groups have urged Mr. Trump to back off on the idea. 

CBS News' Aimee Picchi contributed to this report. 

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