Trump officials send mixed signals on China - Reuters


As reported by Reuters, members of the Trump administration are sending conflicting signals about the US' stance towards foreign investment in American companies, and markets are heading lower across the board as supply chains are beginning to get disrupted by various import tariffs.

Key quotes

"Proposed restrictions on foreign investment in U.S. technology would not just be confined to China, according to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The forthcoming restrictions would apply “to all countries that are trying to steal our technology,” he said.

Late Monday White House trade and manufacturing adviser Peter Navarro sought to downplay Mnuchin’s remarks, telling CNBC television that the restrictions on investments in U.S. technology companies would just target China.

The recent imposition of import tariffs by the U.S., and counter-measures by other countries, are also starting to affect global production and supply chains. Some U.S. steel and aluminium tariffs went into effect in April and additional tariffs begin in July.

The conflicting signals on trade policy from the Trump administration reflect deep divisions among policymakers over how hard to push China on demands for changes in trade, technology transfers, and industrial policies.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has been reluctant to back steep tariffs on Chinese goods, fearing the impact on global supply chains. Goods assembled and exported in one country often depend on components manufactured in another, after being designed in yet a third country, making the national trade deficit focused on by President Trump an unreliable guide.

Last month, Mnuchin said a trade war with China was “on hold” after officials of the world’s two largest economies held talks in Beijing that were focused on opening more sectors of China’s economy and increasing purchases of American goods. But trade policy advisor Navarro, the administration’s harshest China critic, has advocated a far more confrontational approach with Beijing."

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