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Trump softens stance towards China as trade war tension eases

30 June, 2018, 19:48 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • White House decides against outright limits on Chinese investment

Trump has accused Beijing of predatory practices in an attempt to undermine the USA dominance on technology, including cyber theft and forcing US companies to turn over technology in exchange for access to China's market.

Earlier US media had reported that Trump would sign an executive order specifically targeting Chinese investors looking to acquire technology in sectors such as new-energy vehicles, robotics and aerospace.

Instead, the White House wants Congress to pass legislation to bolster the Committee on Foreign Investment in the USA, or CFIUS, so it can prevent Chinese companies from violating intellectual-property rights of American companies, two administration officials said, speaking to reporters Wednesday on the condition of anonymity. The president has threatened to impose an estimated $450 billion in tariffs on Beijing in an effort to reverse what he has labeled as bad trade deals with China.

Pittenger's legislation - the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act - passed the House 400-2 on Tuesday.

United States tariffs on an initial US$34 billion in Chinese goods are still scheduled to take effect on July 6.

Trump, during a meeting with U.S. lawmakers, pushed back on reports that the USA was preparing the investment restrictions and suggested the administration could do it through the foreign investment reviews under the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

Some lawmakers questioned Trump's less aggressive approach.

Last month, the White House said that by the end of this week, it would announce tight new curbs on Chinese investment.

The Chinese government had expressed its concerns over the reports amid fears that they would escalate tensions between the two sides amid the current stand-off over tariffs.

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China's commerce ministry says it objects to the U.S. using national security as an excuse to tighten the rules for Chinese companies in the US.

"China does not agree with (the U.S.) tightening foreign investment conditions using national security as reasons", he said. "It's confused the Chinese about what the USA really wants".

"After CFIUS' review, the President can block transactions found to pose a threat to the national security of the United States".

Chinese investment in the United States has declined dramatically amid heightened regulatory scrutiny.

"If in fact President Trump is now backtracking on tough limits on Chinese investment, it is a VERY BIG MISTAKE", tweeted Sen.

President Trump's chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who returned to the White House two weeks after being hospitalized for a mild heart attack, is interviewing candidates for two positions on the National Economic Council (NEC) that will be vacated in July.

Indeed, they have even advised American companies and individuals not to buy their products.

"Should Congress fail to pass strong FIRRMA legislation that better protects the crown jewels of American technology and intellectual property from transfers and acquisitions that threaten our national security - and future economic prosperity - I will direct my Administration to deploy new tools, developed under existing authorities, that will do so globally", Trump said in a statement.

Mnuchin told reporters that the differences among Trump's advisers had been overblown.

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