- Thursday, March 22, 2018 8:52 PM
Washington, 22 March 2018 (MIA) - The US plans to impose tariffs on about $50bn in Chinese goods and limit the country's investment in the US in retaliation for years of alleged intellectual property theft, the BBC reports.
The White House said the actions were necessary to counter unfair competition from China's state-led economy.
It said years of talks had failed to produce change. China said it was ready to retaliate with "necessary measures".
The latest sanctions have raised fears of a global trade war.
US stock markets sank on Thursday, as investors responded to the announcement.
Signing a memo related to the sanctions, Trump said the US and China were negotiating and he was looking for "reciprocal" trade terms for American companies.
The tariffs follow an investigation of Chinese policies ordered by Trump in August.
The White House said the review found a range of "unfair" practices in China, including restrictions on foreign ownership that pressured foreign companies into transferring technology.
The review also found evidence that China imposes unfair terms on US companies; steers investments in the US to strategic industries; and conducts and supports cyber attacks.
The White House said it has a list of more than 1,000 products that could be targeted by tariffs. Businesses will have the opportunity to comment before the final list goes into effect.
The US is also exploring ways to limit Chinese investment in the US and will seek to bring complaints about unfair licensing terms to the World Trade Organization, officials said.
America's top trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, said protecting US technology was critical to America's economic future.
On Thursday, China's commerce ministry said it was ready to retaliate against the new tariffs.
"China will not sit idly by and let its legitimate rights and interests be harmed, and will certainly take all necessary measures to resolutely defend its legitimate rights and interests," it said in a statement.
The ministry also pointed to a ruling by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that found that Washington had not fully complied with a 2014 ruling against its anti-subsidy tariffs on Chinese products, including solar panels and wind towers.
If imposed as described, the tariffs could lead to higher costs for consumers, while retaliation would hit key sectors of the US economy including agriculture and aerospace, analysts say.
China was the third largest market for US exports in 2016 and among the biggest buyers of American soybeans, corn, pork and aircraft.
The US imports billions more goods from China each year than it exports, creating a deficit of about $375bn last year that Trump has railed against.
The president said Thursday he has asked China to cut that deficit by $100bn "immediately". lk/20:49
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