WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he would proceed with tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports and introduce new limits on Chinese investment in U.S. high-tech industries as part of a broad campaign to crack down on Chinese acquisition of U.S. technology.
The moves come less than 10 days after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the trade war with China was "on hold." Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is due to arrive in Beijing on Saturday for talks aimed at cooling trade tensions between the two countries.
"The United States will implement specific investment restrictions and enhanced export controls for Chinese persons and entities related to the acquisition of industrially significant technology," the White House said in a brief statement.
Specifics of the new limits will be announced by June 30 and will take effect "shortly thereafter," the White House said.
The announced measures also come amid bipartisan criticism of the president's softening of penalties for ZTE, a Chinese telecom company that had traded with Iran and North Korea in defiance of U.S. sanctions.
"I think this is a bone to the Congress. I don't know if it's the right thing to do," said Derek Scissors, a China expert at the conversative American Enterprise Institute.
Tariffs of 25 percent will be applied to Chinese imports containing important technologies, including those related to Beijing's Made-in-China 2025 development program, the White House said. The final tariff list will be made public by June 15 with the new import taxes taking effect shortly thereafter.