Prez Trump's $60bn China tariff plan to hit tech, communications, aerospace industries

Good thing we have all those chip fabs and assembly plants stateside

US President Donald Trump's planned tariffs on goods imported into America from China could hit the tech industry – and ergo, you the customer – particularly hard.

The tariffs, announced in a memorandum on Thursday by the Tweeter-in-Chief on Thursday and fleshed out by the office of the US government's trade representative (USTR), target up to $60bn in components and products imported from Chinese factories.

According to the USTR, among the Chinese industries in the president's crosshairs: "aerospace, information and communication technology, and machinery."


We caught Chinese technology spies RED-HANDED, claims US government


The trade rep has not said exactly which products and goods specifically will be subject to the 25 per cent hike in duties. That will be announced within the next 15 days. It is feared any extra import charges on electronics coming into the US from China will be passed on to customers, hitting citizens and businesses in the wallet.

The USTR also said it will seek restrictions on Chinese companies investing in the US, and will raise gripes about the Middle Kingdom to the World Trade Organization.

This proposed crackdown – which will involve public consultations before kicking off – comes after a nearly seven-month investigation by the USTR into what the White House sees as "unfair" trade policies and practices from China. This, the president said, includes rampant intellectual property theft and hacking attacks on American companies, particularly those in the tech sector.

Basically, Trump is fed up with Chinese organizations ripping off, stealing, and undercutting America's knowhow and blueprints, and squeezing the pips of US outfits with licensing deals and joint ventures.

That China's aerospace and technology businesses would be targeted by the president is hardly a surprise, given the focus of the investigation.

"China uses foreign ownership restrictions, including joint venture requirements, equity limitations, and other investment restrictions, to require or pressure technology transfer from US companies to Chinese entities," President Trump said.

"China also uses administrative review and licensing procedures to require or pressure technology transfer, which, inter alia, undermines the value of US investments and technology and weakens the global competitiveness of US firms."

Specifically, here's what the USTR says it is going to be working on, following the memorandum:

  1. Tariffs – The President has instructed the Trade Representative to publish a proposed list of products and any tariff increases within 15 days of today’s announcement. After a period of notice and comment, the Trade Representative will publish a final list of products and tariff increases.
  2. WTO dispute – The President has instructed the Trade Representative to pursue dispute settlement in the World Trade Organization (WTO) to address China’s discriminatory technology licensing practices.
  3. Investment restrictions – The President has directed the Secretary of the Treasury to address concerns about investment in the United States directed or facilitated by China in industries or technologies deemed important to the United States.

“President Trump has made it clear we must insist on fair and reciprocal trade with China and strictly enforce our laws against unfair trade," said US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

"This requires taking effective action to confront China over its state-led efforts to force, strong-arm, and even steal US technology and intellectual property.

"Years of talking about these problems with China has not worked. The United States is committed to using all available tools to respond to China’s unfair, market-distorting behavior. China’s unprecedented and unfair trade practices are a serious challenge not just to the United States, but to our allies and partners around the world.”

Shortly after the plan was unveiled by Trump and Lighthizer, China issued a response in the state-run Global Times, saying it would likely impose its own restrictions on soybeans and other agricultural imports from America.

"First, the US government is wrongfully taking its own economic hardships out its trade relationship with China. Second, it is overestimating its ability to adjust international trade in the market economy's private sectors, as well as its advantage in a trade war with China," the paper declared.

"Finally, it has underestimated China's resolve regarding retaliatory measures, and it has not fully considered the price it will pay by starting this trade war."

Talk of a trade war did not go over well on Wall Street. After the tariffs were announced, the Dow Jones plunged a massive 700 points, one of its worst falls ever. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021