China reportedly lining up countries against US in pending trade war


China is reportedly looking to line up other countries against the U.S. in a pending trade war after the White House took an unexpected move forward on tariffs a day earlier, the Wall Street Journal said Wednesday, citing Chinese officials.

On Tuesday, the White House announced it would have a final list of $50 billion in imports that would be subject to 25 percent tariffs by June 15, and two weeks later would announce investment restrictions on Chinese acquisitions of U.S. technology.

In response, China is reportedly looking to line up countries against the U.S., the Journal reported. The countries in question are mostly in Europe and Asia, where companies could benefit from China’s plans to give foreign companies more open access to its markets.

Tuesday’s announcement came just days after the two countries announced a tentative solution.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had said any trade war would be put on ice while negotiators worked out the details. As part of that deal, China would reduce its trade advantage by buying more U.S. goods such as agricultural and energy commodities.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is set to arrive in Beijing Saturday but the surprise move from Washington could be an impediment to those talks, and is “casting doubt” over whether they can advance to the next level, the Journal reported.