ADMINISTRATION MAY STILL SEEK TRADE SANCTIONS AGAINST CHINA
Byline: Jim Ostroff
WASHINGTON — U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor reiterated Monday that the Clinton administration was set to announce trade sanctions against China on Saturday if there’s no resolution of the dispute over intellectual property rights.
However, Kantor appeared to give the White House wiggle room to reach an accord after that time. Talks between U.S. and Chinese negotiators broke down unexpectedly on Saturday in Beijing, as reported, following 10 days in which the two sides were said to have made significant progress in resolving American demands that China safeguard U.S. computer software and films from illegal copying.
Kantor said that while the Feb. 4 deadline remains for announcing the imposition of 100 percent duties on about $1 billion worth of Chinese imports, including silk accessories and footwear as possible targets, the U.S. likely would delay this “for several days,” a spokeswoman said.
In previous situations when the U.S. threatened to levy so-called killer tariffs on Chinese goods in trade disputes, American trade officials drew a deadline in concrete. However, several trade analysts here said Kantor may be giving China more leeway because its New Year celebrations begin today.
The USTR spokeswoman declined to say just when the U.S. would impose these sanctions if no accord is reached by Saturday. Following the departure of U.S. negotiators from Beijing last weekend, Kantor invited the Chinese to meet here for further talks. No response had been received as of Monday night, the spokeswoman said.
Chinese officials said after the U.S., on Dec. 31, unveiled a tentative list worth $2.8 billion of Chinese imports that could be hit with sanctions, that China was prepared to retaliate by excluding various U.S. goods, including cosmetics. — Fairchild News Service