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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Considers Tariffs Against China

WASHINGTON -- The White House is again considering massive trade sanctions against Chinese exports to the United States to retaliate for China's failure to shut down its burgeoning business in pirated compact discs, movies, computer software and other products protected by U.S. patents and copyrights.


Nearly one year after China agreed to close factories turning out pirated goods and punish those involved in the lucrative business, 28 or 29 plants are flourishing, U.S. officials say. Just one has been shuttered and operations at five others have been suspended, U.S. officials say.


With no sign of progress in sporadic talks with Chinese officials, U.S. trade officials made clear in an interview Friday that they are ready to return to the intense showdown that brought the two countries to the brink of trade sanctions last February, when the United States was about to impose tariffs of $1 billion on Chinese goods sold here.


The $1 billion figure was arrived at a year ago by calculating the loss to U.S. companies, entertainers and workers when their products were copied in Chinese factories that paid no royalties.


Officials said the figure will be higher next time around if sanctions are required. And they said the United States would block China's entry into the World Trade Organization, the international body governing global commerce that Beijing is eager to join.


"It certainly would not be unfair to come to the conclusion the calculations would be larger if we had to go to sanctions a year after the agreement," U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor said Friday in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.


He said the earlier threatened sanctions figure did not include the value of royalties and profits denied to Americans by Chinese sales of unlicensed goods in third countries.


Kantor also said the sanctions would cover an expanded list of products.


Those sanctions considered last year would have taken the form of 100 percent tariffs -- taxes on imports -- on $1 billion worth of Chinese goods.


U.S. officials have met with Chinese counterparts 15 times since the Feb. 26 agreement as they tried to gain compliance with its terms. A Chinese delegation is scheduled to visit here next week, and U.S. negotiators will visit China at the end of the month and again in February.