Chinese tech investment in USA is next target in Don's crackdown

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures while delivering a speech at the Alumisourse Building in Monessen Pennsylvania.—Rueters

The Treasury Department on Friday is due to announce restrictions on Chinese investment in the U.S.as well as enhanced export controls, as part of the Trump administration's actions taken under Section 301 to respond to China's alleged theft of USA intellectual property.

The U.S. Treasury Department is drafting curbs that would block firms with at least 25 percent Chinese ownership from buying U.S. companies with "industrially significant technology", a government official briefed on the matter said on Sunday.

The report said USA industry would have an opportunity to comment on the plans before the rules take effect.

Before Mnuchin made his comments, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal reported that the White House was planning to heighten scrutiny of Chinese investments in sensitive United States industries under an emergency law.

The European Union and China are teaming up to rewrite global trade rules, their latest move in a wider fightback against the trade war Donald Trump has launched as part of his "America First" agenda.

As tensions continue to escalate, trade experts warn there are fewer options to resolve the dispute. The administration is still debating some aspects of the new investment restrictions that are set to be announced on Friday, a government official said. His successor, Larry Kudlow, is a self-proclaimed "free-trader", and is recovering from a heart attack.

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Europe and China will form a group aimed at updating global trade rules to address technology policy, government subsidies and other emerging complaints in a bid to preserve support for worldwide commerce, the vice president of the European Union's governing body said Monday.

Technology stocks bore the brunt of the damage.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro later appeared on CNBC, where he also cast doubt on news reports and added to the uncertainty over what will be announced this week.

The move marks another escalation of President Donald Trump's trade conflict with China, which threatens to roil financial markets and dent global growth.

The law, the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act, gives the president authority to take certain measures against another country during a "national emergency".

Much of China's behavior "constitutes an economic aggression, " Navarro said last week during a phone briefing with reporters.

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Chinese investment in the United States is already declining.

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

This week's possible USA action on Chinese investment follows a number of tariff threats between the Washington and Beijing in recent weeks. The Pentagon has also protested what it says are cases of US pilots being injured by lasers, a claim that has been denied by China's foreign ministry.

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, said people familiar with the administration's plans.

Mattis said in a speech to Naval War College graduates last week that China harbours "long-term designs to rewrite the existing global order".

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