President Trump has released a statement setting forth the steps that his administration will undertake in an effort to protect domestic technology and intellectual property from China’s unfair and discriminatory trade practices. These actions are the result of the findings of the U.S. Trade Representative investigation pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. On March 22, 2018, the president issued a Presidential Memorandum announcing the findings of that investigation, but in recent weeks there had been indications that any “trade war” and tariffs against China would be put on hold pending further discussions and negotiations. With today’s announcement, the United States will:

  • implement “specific investment restrictions and enhanced export controls for Chinese persons and entities related to the acquisition of industrially significant technology.” These restrictions and controls will be announced by June 30, 2018.
  • continue to pursue dispute settlement proceedings before the World Trade Organization for violations of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) based on China’s discriminatory practices for licensing intellectual property. The United States filed the case regarding these violations on March 23, 2018.
  • continue with its Section 301 trade action and impose a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion of goods imported from China. The final list of covered imports will be announced by June 15, 2018.

The statement notes that the United States “will request that China remove all of its many trade barriers, including non-monetary trade barriers, which make it both difficult and unfair to do business there” and that “tariffs and taxes between the two countries be reciprocal in nature and value.”