The US was yesterday expected to sue China at the WTO over alleged trade law breaches as part of its planned trade announcement, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person with knowledge of the plans.
Planned US tariffs on China could also hit US$50 billion of Chinese imports, the Journal said, citing the individual.
US President Donald Trump was poised to unveil sanctions against China for what he called the theft of US intellectual property, fueling fears of a trade war as Beijing vowed to retaliate.
White House spokesman Raj Shah said that Trump would announce actions following an “investigation into China’s state-led, market-distorting efforts to force, pressure and steal US technologies and intellectual property.”
According to Trump’s schedule, released by the White House on Wednesday evening, he is to sign “a presidential memorandum targeting China’s economic aggression.”
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce issued a pre-emptive warning, saying in a statement yesterday that Beijing “will certainly take all necessary measures to resolutely defend its legitimate rights and interests.”
It is just weeks since Trump short-circuited White House deliberations and announced a raft of sanctions on foreign-produced steel and aluminum off the cuff.
That move prompted the resignation of White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, a global stock market sell-off, legal disputes and threats of retaliatory measures.
On Wednesday, US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned that the prospect of a trade war was a growing threat to the world’s largest economy.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) on Tuesday urged Trump to not act “emotionally,” but the impulsive president is showing no sign of backing down.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer recently put a separate proposed package of US$30 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports on the president’s desk.
And Trump appears to have agreed to at least that amount, as he tries to fulfill campaign promises to get tough on “cheating” by US trade partners, which he has said have destroyed American jobs.
The US trade deficit with China ran to a record US$375 billion last year — but US exports to the country were also at a record.
Washington has long accused Beijing of forcing US companies to turn over proprietary commercial information and intellectual property as a condition of operating in China.
Trump claims to have built up a generally good relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), whom he has praised for his role in pressuring North Korea over its nuclear program.
However, the trade dispute threatens to cast a pall over those relations, especially given the recent warnings from Beijing.
A senior official in Lighthizer’s office said on Wednesday that the administrations of former US presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama had attempted over the decades to coax China into respecting market economics and trade liberalization, but had all failed.
The Trump administration opened an investigation in August last year acting on a series of allegations against China, including that as a condition of doing business, Beijing forces US companies to enter joint ventures and transfer technology and trade secrets to domestic partners, and that US firms are not able to license intellectual property in China as freely as Chinese companies.
US officials have also alleged that China has hacked US networks and conducted industrial espionage to steal US intellectual property.
Xi sent his top economic advisor, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (劉鶴), to Washington this month to discuss trade tensions, but a US official said that at no point had the Chinese made a constructive proposal.
The number of people from Hong Kong applying for residency in Taiwan last year rose 41 percent from a year earlier to 5,858, National Immigration Agency statistics showed. The statistics also showed that 600 applications were filed by Hong Kong residents in the first quarter of this year — three times the number filed in the same period last year — with applicants apparently not deterred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just one day after it was reported that the Chinese government plans to enact new national security laws in Hong Kong, inquiries regarding immigration to Taiwan grew 10-fold, a Hong Kong-based immigration
‘BEGINNING OF THE END’: Democracy advocate Joshua Wong urged Hong Kongers to stand up and fight, and let the Chinese government know that they will not cave Hong Kong protesters yesterday battled with riot police in busy downtown areas, showing their opposition toward China’s dramatic move to crack down on dissent in the biggest demonstration since the coronavirus swept through the territory in January. Police deployed a water cannon and fired tear gas in the Causeway Bay shopping area after hundreds of protesters had gathered to oppose new national security legislation from China. Police warned the crowd they were taking part in an illegal gathering, and later said in a statement that “rioters threw umbrellas, water bottles and other objects at them.” At least 120 people were arrested,
‘TAIWAN IS SAFE’: As there have been no new local cases for 42 days, people should feel free to travel around the nation — as long as they follow disease prevention rules No new cases of COVID-19 were reported yesterday and only 20 of the people hospitalized after testing positive are still being treated in hospitals, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday in Pingtung County’s Kenting (墾丁) as he promoted a “new disease prevention lifestyle” for the nation. As yesterday was the 42nd consecutive day with no new domestic cases, and experts consider 28 consecutive days with no domestic case — the span of two incubation periods — a sign that a community is relatively safe, Taiwan is safe, said Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC),
SMOOTHER TRANSIT: Japan Airlines reportedly planned to land the flight at Haneda Airport, but changed it to Narita for direct flights to Taiwan The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked Japan for allowing 94 Taiwanese on a chartered plane evacuating others stranded in Russia, where COVID-19 cases are rising and many international flights have been canceled. Ninety-four Taiwanese exchange students and expats, as well as two Russian spouses, arrived at Narita International Airport in Japan yesterday morning on a charter flight operated by Japan Airlines, before taking a transfer flight to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport last night, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said. As of press time last night, Russia had reported more than 362,000 cases of COVID-19, including more than 3,800 deaths. The government had