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US President Donald Trump is expected to fire a salvo directly at China today for at least $50bn worth of annual tariffs and other penalties for its theft of technology and trade secrets.
The White House said Trump would sign a presidential memorandum “targeting China’s economic aggression” at 12:30 p.m.
In what could escalate into a full-scale trade war between the world’s two largest economies, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said yesterday: “Tomorrow the president will announce the actions he has decided to take based on USTR’s 301 investigation into China’s state-led, market-distorting efforts to force, pressure, and steal U.S. technologies and intellectual property.”
At a daily news briefing today, Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry, reiterated that the country does not want a trade war and that the economic ties between the two countries have lowered costs for American consumers.
Hua added that China would be ready to retaliate, without providing details. “If the day did come when the U.S. took measures to hurt our interests, we will definitely take firm and necessary countermeasures to safeguard our legitimate interests,” she said.