Foreign Policy

Trump Targets China With Tariffs

He seeks to hit back at China's government-sanctioned theft of American companies' intellectual property.

Political Editors · Mar. 20, 2018

President Donald Trump is preparing to follow through on an issue he campaigned heavily on — addressing the U.S. trade imbalance with China. On Friday, Trump is expected to announce his plan to levee a $60 billion annual tariff on a wide range of Chinese products. In January, Trump argued that China has engaged in theft from American companies by its demanding that they transfer their intellectual property to China in exchange for doing business. The president alleges that this policy only furthers an uneven and unfair trade balance. Clearly, Trump is playing hardball, but he has left open the time frame for the tariffs’ implementation giving China an opportunity to come to the negotiation table.

And while some have been critical of Trump’s aggressive actions on China, others have embraced his get-tough tactics. Scott Paul, president of the union-backed Alliance for American Manufacturing, stated, “This would be a clear indication that he’s serious about ensuring there are consequences for intellectual property violations and other anti-competitive practices coming from China.” Paul added, “He’s not the first president who’s promised he would do something about China. But if he follows through with these tariffs, he’d be the first to ensure there are real consequences for these violations. That’s a step forward for American workers.” It remains to be seen where this ends up, but a lot of folks see Trump as going to bat for the American worker.

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