Trump tech tariff threat overshadows strong China factory, investment data

Government insists no trade-off for tariff deal with US

Government insists no trade-off for tariff deal with US

So what is going to change, will the unions back down a little or will us consumers pay the difference?

The European Union and Japan urged the United States to grant them exemptions from metal import tariffs, with Tokyo calling for "calm-headed behaviour". Japan has warned of the dangers of tit-for-tat measures.

The White House is considering imposing a raft of tariffs and other punitive measures on China for alleged intellectual property theft, long a source of tension between the two countries, which are key trade partners.

Japanese Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko said he had expressed concern to Mr Lighthizer and warned of major market disruption.

Lighthizer did not make any immediate comment after the meetings.

A China-based business source with knowledge of discussion among senior European officials said there had been a "clear effort" by the US government over the past six months to introduce a coordinated approach to Chinese industrial policy, but that Trump's metals tariffs had undermined European support. The United States also objects to Chinese investment rules that require US companies to transfer technology in order to do business in the country. However, it took on more urgency after Trump's tariff move. The White House is reportedly still drawing up the legal paperwork for an executive order that would bring the tariffs into effect.

While complaints about China's abuse of intellectual property rights are not confined to the United States, Trump's global steel and aluminum tariffs announced last week under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 complicate USA efforts to recruit allies to put pressure on China.

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"If they drop their horrific barriers and tariffs on USA products going in, we will likewise drop ours", he tweeted. "Big Deficit. If not, we Tax Cars etc. FAIR!"

Politico reported earlier that Trump had rejected proposals for tariffs on $30 billion of Chinese imports.

"China does not wish to fight a trade war, nor will China initiate a trade war, but we can handle any challenge and will resolutely defend the interests of our country and our people", he said. "We are talking about unilateral action against worldwide rules". He was apparently referring to the European Union threats of retaliation.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told CNBC on Monday that Canada's exemption from the tariffs has nothing to do with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations but he thanked Trump for the "special consideration" given to Canada over the tariffs.

A meeting in Brussels between Malmstrom and her USA counterpart Robert Lighthizer on Saturday ended without a breakthrough, as the European Union didn't receive assurances that it will be exempted from the metal tariffs.

Trudeau said the surplus of steel in the global market is not new and with American tariffs in place, some countries might try to ship to the USA through Canada. The U.S. bought 5 percent of Japan's steel a year ago but just 1.1 percent of China's steel. The group also produces steel in the U.S., however, at its North Star subsidiary.

The tariffs would not only target technology products that are often subject to intellectual property theft, but also goods such as clothing, according to the report.

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