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Foreign Policy Analysis
New Trump tariffs take direct aim at Chinese trade policy in fight over U.S. tech secrets

New Trump tariffs take direct aim at Chinese trade policy in fight over U.S. tech secrets


JUDY WOODRUFF: A broadside today from President
Trump aimed at China and its trade policies. He authorized sweeping new tariffs on imports,
amid warnings that this opening salvo could turn into a full-on trade war. William Brangham begins our coverage. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
This is the first of many. This is number one, but this is the first
of many. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: These latest tariffs directly
target Beijing and may total up to $60 billion. That’s about 10 percent of all Chinese imports
to the United States. The president also announced restrictions
on Chinese investments in U.S. technology firms. He said the U.S. would also sue China at the
World Trade organization for breaking trade laws. DONALD TRUMP: The word is reciprocal. That’s the word I want everyone to remember. We want reciprocal, mirror. Some people call it a mirror tariff or a mirror
tax. Just use the word reciprocal. If they charge us, we charge them the same
thing. That’s the way it’s got to be. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The president argues this
is punishment for Beijing’s alleged efforts at violating U.S. intellectual property rights. The tariffs are the first time the administration
has directly targeted China with trade sanctions. While earlier tariffs on steel and aluminum,
which take effect Friday, were meant to curb Chinese overproduction, they also affected
other nations as well. The administration temporarily exempted several
American allies from those tariffs. China has often said it wants to avoid a trade
war, but warned it would hit back if necessary. HUA CHUNYING, Spokeswoman, Chinese Ministry
of Foreign Affairs (through translator): China will by no means tolerate any harm to our
legitimate rights and interests, and we will definitely take all necessary measures to
defend our rights and interests. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: China has threatened to
impose tariffs of its own on U.S. agricultural exports, particularly soybeans, which is a
$14 billion-a-year business. Aircraft makers like Boeing could also be
vulnerable. It is the largest U.S. exporter, and China
is its biggest customer. The Chinese could choose to order more from
European competitors like Airbus. On Sunday, dozens of business and trade groups
sent a letter to the president voicing concerns that he could trigger a trade war with China. And, today, Utah Republican Senator Orrin
Hatch also criticized the president’s move. SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), Utah: I am deeply disappointed
in the decision to impose global tariffs to address a problem caused by China. Tariffs are taxes. So I am concerned about the harm that this
action would impose on American manufacturers and families. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Still, the president found
support in unlikely places. Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer applauded
the tariffs. SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), Minority Leader: I’m
very pleased that this administration is taking strong action to get a better deal on China,
because China has stolen and extorted the intellectual property of American companies
for years without repercussion. Our intellectual property are our family jewels. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The list of Chinese products
that fall under these tariffs will be made available in 15 days. Until then, all eyes are on how China might
respond. JUDY WOODRUFF: And William will be back with
a deeper dive on all of this right after the news summary.

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