White House calls off trade truce as talks continue

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media before boarding Marine One while departing the White House in Washington D.C. U.S. on Friday

The countries said China would "significantly increase" purchases of USA goods and services to reduce their trade imbalance, a top Trump administration demand.

Members of both parties in the House and Senate slammed the agreement the Trump administration reached with ZTE Friday, in which the Chinese firm agreed to remove its management team, hire American compliance officers, and pay a fine. Trump has said that ZTE is part of the larger trade talks. It announced that the United States would take multiple steps to protect domestic technology and intellectual property from certain discriminatory and burdensome trade practices by China.

The investment restrictions and strengthened export controls will aim to curb Chinese acquisition of "industrially significant" technology and will be announced by June 30.

Scott Kennedy, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that many foreign leaders are learning to not overreact to Trump's threats, which frequently are later reversed.

Trump has faced a backlash among lawmakers this month after announcing he would soften USA sanctions on the Chinese telecoms equipment maker ZTE, which neared collapse due to an April ban on purchasing crucial USA components.

The tariff threat could still disrupt Ross's China talks.

It noted that Chinese tariffs on USA goods are much higher than corresponding US tariffs, and said the USA government would "defend America's intellectual property and proprietary technology from theft and other threats" by imposing a 25% tariff on $50 billion in goods made in China that contained "industrially significant technology". Trump announced on Tuesday that was moving forward with tariffs on Chinese imports.

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"The United States will request that tariffs and taxes between the two countries be reciprocal in nature and value".

The full list of imports that will be subject to the 25% tariffs will be announced by 15 June, the White House said.

"In the midst of seemingly fruitful negotiations to increase Chinese imports from the US, the USA measures underscore that economic tension and rivalry between the world's two largest economies is on the rise", wrote Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at Oxford Economics, in a research note.

William Zarit, the chairman of the American chamber, said that if trade tensions were to escalate again he could not rule out the possibility of Beijing issuing countermeasures, such as putting more tariffs on American goods, prolonging the review process for takeover bids and tightening visa controls.

It said technology transfers between United States companies and their Chinese partners were the result of normal business practices, not coercive policies.

The official said the instructions also stated that Chinese citizens seeking visas would need special clearance from multiple US agencies if they work as researchers or managers for companies on a US Commerce Department list of entities needing higher scrutiny. "Whether it is a threat or will really be put into force, we have to consider this seriously - we have to listen to his words and watch his actions", said Li Gang, vice president of the commerce ministry's research and training institute, during a recent interview in Beijing.

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