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Trump seeking tariffs on up to $60 billion Chinese goods; targets tech, telecoms


By and Michael Martina

WASHINGTON/(Reuters) - U.S. is seeking to impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports and will target the technology and telecommunications sectors, two people who had discussed the issue with the said on Tuesday.

A third source who had direct knowledge of the administration's thinking said the tariffs, associated with a "Section 301" intellectual property investigation, under the 1974 U.S. Trade Act begun in August last year, could come "in the very near future".

While the tariffs would be chiefly targeted at information technology, and telecoms, they could be much broader and the list could eventually run to 100 products.

The declined to comment on the size or timing of any move.

is targeting Chinese companies to punish them for China's investment policies that effectively force U.S. companies to give up their in exchange for being allowed to operate in the country along with other allegations of intellectual property theft.

runs a $375 billion trade surplus with the and when Xi Jinping's top visited recently, the administration pressed him to come up with a way of reducing that number.

Trump came to office on a protectionist agenda and his first action as was to pull the out of the 14-nation Pacific trade pact, known as the (TPP).

He has started talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and most recently imposed tariffs on and aluminium imports.

While the tariffs on and aluminium, announced last week by Trump, are viewed as relatively insignificant in terms of imports and exports, moves to target directly risk a direct and harsh response from

The website earlier reported that the U.S. Trade Representative's office had presented Trump with a package of $30 billion in tariffs last week, but Trump told aides that this wasn't high enough.

One business source who had discussed the issue with the said the figure had now grown to about $60 billion, with a potentially wider array of products under consideration.

A second person, who is an in who is familiar with the administration's thinking said the process was being led by Peter Navarro, an avowed protectionist, who has accused American companies of conniving with the Chinese state, and by U.S. Robert Lighthizer, who also favours tariffs as a tool.

Speaking to reporters in the Capitol, U.S. House stressed that Trump was serious about addressing the issue of intellectual property theft.

"He's serious about calling their hand on this, and my understanding is they are looking at a broad array of options to do that," Brady said.

While complaints about China's abuse of intellectual property rights are not confined to the United States, Trump's global and aluminium tariffs announced last week complicate Washington's efforts to recruit allies to help put pressure on

A China-based business source with knowledge of discussion among senior European officials said there had been a "clear effort" by the over the past six months to introduce a coordinated approach to Chinese industrial policy, but that Trump's proposed metals tariffs under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 had undermined support from

"Senior officials had directly approached European leaders at a senior level. There had been a willingness to do something together on China. That's impossible right now. You can't cooperate when you're getting whacked around", the person told

(Additional reporting by and Roberta Rampton; Writing by David Chance; editing by Clive McKeef)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, March 14 2018. 05:54 IST