Washington, Mar 22 (EFE).- US President Donald Trump said Thursday that his administration will impose tariffs on up to $60 billion worth of Chinese goods annually to counteract Beijing’s “unfair” trade practices in the technology sector.
Trump said that he had demanded that China reduce the US trade deficit with it by $100 billion and that the matter is being negotiated.
Trump said that the $100 billion figure amounted to 25 percent of the total trade deficit and that the US had to take this action as he publicly signed a memo at the White House to impose the tariffs.
“Anyway you look at it, it’s the largest (trade deficit) of any country in the history of our world,” the president said. “It’s out of control.”
The president’s measures also limited Beijing’s ability to invest in US technology, and he said that the move comes in response to China’s history of forcing US firms to turn over their trade secrets and other intellectual property in exchange for being allowed to do business in China.
Trump also gave US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer 15 days within which to announce a proposed list of specific products on which the increased tariffs would be levied. Once public and business commentary is received on the list, a final list will be prepared with the aim of targeting Chinese products that have benefited from the forced access to US technology.
“We’re doing things for this country that should have been done for many, many years,” the president said before signing a memo launching the trade moves.
At the signing ceremony, Trump blamed Chinese actions for causing the shutdown of some 60,000 US factories and the loss of six million jobs.
He also said that if Beijing complies with his demands regarding reducing its trade surplus, the tariffs will be reconsidered.
Before signing the measures Trump mentioned $60 billion as the value of Chinese goods to be affected by the tariffs, a figure that exceeded the $50 billion figure released earlier by the White House, something that seemed to surprise Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who attended the signing ceremony.
China is Washington’s second-largest trade partner, and Trump said that imposing tariffs on Beijing will make the US a “much stronger, much richer nation.”
Meanwhile, China is already stating that it will take “all necessary measures” to defend itself on the trade front, potentially resulting in a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.