Prices increase in trade war dispute

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BEIJING (AP) — President Donald Trump is hiking the price of Chinese-made forklift trucks and X-ray machines for American buyers.

They are part of a $50 billion list of Chinese exports targeted for a 25 percent tariff hike in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.

The list of 1,102 products issued Friday includes 818 remaining from a tentative list of 1,333 released in April. The U.S. government also released a second list of 284 additional products it said were being considered for tariffs.

It is the first direct impact on American consumers of the dispute over a state-led technology development strategy the White House says violates Beijing’s free-trade commitments and hurts foreign competitors.

More than a routine trade dispute, it reflects Washington’s unease that American technology leadership and prosperity might be eroded by China’s state-led efforts to compete in smartphones, electric cars, biotech and other fields.

Economists and business people say Beijing is unlikely to give ground on a strategy seen by Communist leaders as the path to higher incomes and to restoring China’s rightful role as a global leader.

U.S. officials say the tariff hike targets goods that might benefit from Chinese theft of technology or pressure on foreign companies to hand it over in exchange for market access.

They point to plans stretching back two decades that call for state-led development of Chinese competitors in artificial intelligence, clean energy, electric cars, robotics, biotech and other fields. Foreign companies complain Beijing subsidizes fledgling Chinese developers and shields them from competition in violation of its free-trade commitments.

Trump is hardly the first foreign leader to complain. Others have filed World Trade Organization complaints or lobbied Chinese leaders in person during visits to Beijing. But Trump has attacked head-on, threatening to disrupt Chinese exports.

In addition to forklifts and medical equipment, Friday’s list includes turbojet and marine engine parts, factory and food processing machinery and power generators.

Much of the list is industrial components and chemicals including steel pipe and parts used in TV sets and telecom equipment.

That could hurt emerging Chinese global brands including Huawei in telecoms, Mindray in medical equipment and Hisense in TVs.

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