Mattis arrives in China; NKorea to be key topic of meetings

Oscar PerryJun 28, 2018

WASHINGTON-Bitter fights over trade within the Trump administration again broke into the open, driving wild swings in the stock market as the White House's top trade adviser clashed with the Treasury secretary over restrictions on foreign investment.

The Wall Street Journal then reported Trump would soon block more tech exports to China and prohibit Chinese companies from investing in US technology.

President Donald Trump in March directed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to address investment concerns in critical US technologies. "This is not the plan", he said.

Mnuchin's remark sparked concern among market participants that Washington's looming trade war with Beijing might be fought on more worldwide fronts.

THE US is planning to use an emergency law to ratchet up its scrutiny of Chinese investments in key industries, Bloomberg News reported today.

Liu had led China's three rounds of trade talks with the USA, negotiations that have broken down over the Trump administration's pledge to move forward with tariffs despite an agreement in May to put the duties on hold.

While the measures to protect America's "crown jewels", may help slow down China's advance, Triolo and Zenglein doubt whether it can be halted altogether, due to the billions of dollars being spent by the Beijing government to realize its ambitions. Cohn, a former president of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., warned this month that trade disputes could wipe out the benefits of Republican tax cuts passed in December.

People familiar with the administration's plans said the Treasury's investment limits are seen as complementing the CFIUS reform efforts, which are not only focused on China and don't limit investments on economic security grounds. His successor, Larry Kudlow, is a self-proclaimed "free-trader", and is recovering from a heart attack.

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The last time a USA aircraft carrier transited the Taiwan Strait was in 2007, during the administration of George W. Bush, and some US military officials believe a carrier transit is overdue. The vice president of the European Union's governing body says Europe and China will form a group aimed at updating global trade rules to address technology policy, subsidies and other emerging complaints in a bid to preserve support for worldwide commerce. Treasury officials are also trying to settle on a legal definition of "Chinese entities" that would be affected.

Policymakers in China moved quickly to temper any potential economic drag from Beijing's dispute with the United States.

Neither did confirmation from Peter Navarro, director of the National Trade Council, that the Administration has no plans to impose investment restrictions.

Chinese investment in the United States is already declining.

The IEEPA statute allows the president to unilaterally impose investment limits.

"China has signaled that it would welcome Mattis" diplomatic approach.

That follows Trump's threat to hike tariffs on Chinese imports worth up to $450 billion over complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. Congress also is looking at ways to tighten the investment review process.

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