Trade: new estocade of Washington against Beijing


The us Trade representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer, march 22, 2018 at the White House (Photo Mandel NGAN. AFP)

Washington has brought a new estocade against Beijing publishing Tuesday, a provisional list of imported products that could be taxed in retaliation to the forcible transfer of american technology and intellectual property”.

This list, which refers to imports representing approximately $ 50 billion”, target products of various sectors, including aeronautics, information technologies and communication or robotics and machines,” explained us Trade representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer in a statement.

“The proposed list of products is based on economic analyses excavated and should be targeted to products that benefit industrial projects in China while minimizing the impact on the u.s. economy”, he added.

The provisional list identifies some 1,300 goods, but it remains subject to a review process at least 30 days prior to the publication of a final list.

The Chinese embassy in Washington condemned the “unilateral measures and protectionist (which) violate the fundamental principles and values of the WTO. They serve neither the interests of China nor those of the United States and even less of the world economy”.

According to it, Beijing will use the procedure of the rules of conflict of the world trade Organization (WTO) to respond to and “take corresponding measures of the same magnitude and importance against american products”.

President Donald Trump has signed on march 22, “a memorandum targeting aggression to China’s economic”. He was then referred to punitive measures against chinese imports in an amount up to “$ 60 billion” to put an end to what it claims to be the “unfair” competition of Beijing and the “theft” of intellectual property.

He had asked the USTR to submit to it a provisional list, in fifteen days, i.e. before Thursday.

The United States, whose competitiveness depends on their ability to innovate, opened in August 2017 an investigation under section 301 of their trade legislation on alleged violations of intellectual property rights.

Washington is particularly concerned about the system of joint ventures imposed by Beijing to american companies: in return for access to the chinese market, these firms are obliged to share with local partners a part of their technological know-how.

– “Heavy artillery”? –

The announcement Tuesday comes as the offensive trade between Washington and Beijing was already up a notch this week.

The asian giant has announced on Monday that it had taken retaliatory measures against 128 us products including fruits and pork representing some three billion dollars.

It was in response to the imposition on march 8 of u.s. taxes of 25 percent on imports of steel and of 10% on those of aluminum.

Mr. Trump made regularly of the colossal u.s. trade deficit (375,2 billion in 2017) with Beijing a horse of battle. He urged chinese officials to “reduce, immediately, the deficit of 100 billion dollars”.

For its part, Beijing has been estimated by the voice of its minister of Commerce that “the cooperation between China and the United States, the two largest economies in the world, is the only possible option.”

The asian giant has at the same time asked the United States to give up “to the faster” their actions violate the rules of the WTO and to stop what he called the “intimidation economic”.

Until now, Beijing has been careful not to attack the major agricultural products, such as the u.s. soybean, for which China is the main market, or companies strategic industrial such as the aircraft manufacturer Boeing (NYSE:BA).

“The Chinese could pull out the heavy artillery: the soy and Boeing,” responded Monica De Bolle, specialist in international trade at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “However, they could also wait until the end of the period of consultations,” she added.

Edward Alden, an expert in international trade at the Council on Foreign Relations, had stressed on Monday that the first retaliatory measures announced by China on Monday were more “significant” that it is the first country to respond concretely to Washington.

“This shows that the Chinese are going to hit back” in the face of further reprisals for the u.s., was also estimated.

The economic council and sino-american, which includes american companies trading with China, warned Tuesday against actions that could result in recourse to the WTO then giving reason to Beijing.

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