Navarro contradicts Mnuchin's assertion that trade war with China is on hold

Earlier on Tuesday, Washington said it was still considering slapping 25 per cent tariffs on US$50 billion (S$67.28 billion) of Chinese goods in retaliation for what the Trump administration says are China's unfair trade practices.

Just ten days ago, fears of a trade war between the U.S. and China - and the threat of USA tariffs - appeared to recede after the two sides agreed to resolve their economic and trade concerns, with Mnuchin confirming to Fox News that the Trump administration would "put the trade war on hold" along with additional 25% tariffs.

In the same statement on Tuesday, the White House said that the US will "continue to pursue litigation at the World Trade Organization" over allegations that China steals USA intellectual property.

China on Wednesday lashed out at Washington's unexpected statement that it will press ahead with tariffs and restrictions on investments by Chinese companies, saying Beijing was ready to fight back if Washington was looking to ignite a trade war. The White House, and many American companies, say that China forces USA firms to turn over technology as part of joint ventures with Chinese companies to gain access to its market.

In addition, by the end of June, the United States will announce investment restrictions and "enhanced export controls" for Chinese individuals and entities "related to the acquisition of industrially significant technology", it said.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is expected to return to Beijing on Saturday for continued discussions.

In retaliation, China announced plans to impose new tariffs of 25 per cent worth Dollars 50 billion on 106 American products including items like soybeans which could hurt American farmers.

In particular, despite a tentative easing of trade tensions, the White House still seems resolved to block the "Made in China 2025" plan to make the nation a technology-driven industrial power through leadership in aerospace, industrial robots, software and semiconductors, among other things.

The unilateral increase in tariffs is accompanied by barriers to Chinese investments and imports linked to the technological sector, thus eliminating the consensus to increase them on both directions.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin went on Fox News to say the trade war was "on hold".

If the two sides fail to reach an agreement and the U.S. moves forward with tariffs, Chinese officials have said they plan to retaliate with tariffs of their own on United States exports such as soybeans.

The Trump administration is preparing to establish limits on Chinese visa applications to protect USA intellectual property, a State Department official told Bloomberg on Tuesday.

Trump's accusations that Chinese trade practices were killing American jobs had been a staple of his campaign, and his reversal has left heads spinning in Washington.

The United States will also continue to pursue litigation against China at the World Trade Organization.

In return, the Commerce Department lifted a seven-year ban on ZTE's purchase of USA components that it imposed earlier in May.

"But that means the United States' credibility is incredibly low", he said.

  • Rogelio Becker