As the United States is checking China’s high-tech rise, the U.S.-China trade war is showing signs of reviving after a hiatus. After Washington on Tuesday announced a plan to impose high tariff on Chinese imports, Beijing said it would defend its “national core interests.”
China’s Commerce Ministry issued a statement unusually at 11:30 p.m., calling the U.S. tariff plan a “strategic statement” aimed at putting more pressure on China to win greater concession from Beijing. “We are surprised by the strategic statement released by the White House, but, at the same time, it is somewhat expected,” the statement said. “It is obviously against the consensus recently reached by the United States and China in Washington.”
Despite China’s protest, the United States is implementing strong checks against China’s state-of-the-art science and technology. On Tuesday, The Associated Press and Reuters reported that the U.S. Department of State is seeking to limit the length of validity for some visas issued to Chinese students to one year if they study robotics, aviation and high-tech manufacturing. China identified those areas as priorities in its “Made in China 2025” manufacturing plan aimed at becoming the best in the world in high-tech manufacturing. Washington’s usual practice is to issue them for the maximum possible length.
An anonymous U.S. Department of State official told the Associated Press that according to instructions sent to U.S. embassies and consulates, Chinese citizens seeking visas will need special clearance from multiple U.S. agencies if they work as researchers or managers for companies on a U.S. Commerce Department list of entities requiring higher scrutiny. The Associated Press quoted the official as saying that those clearances are expected to take months for each visa application. The changes are to begin June 11.
The White House broke its trade truce with Beijing and issued a statement on Tuesday, saying that the administration would announce by June 15 a final list of 50 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of Chinese imports subject to tariffs of 25 percent. The announcement came just a day after Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized building a self-sustained high-tech industry and declared a competition with the U.S. over high-tech hegemony. The White House criticized that China’s such industrial policy as “Made in China 2025” does damage to the United States and businesses around the world.
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