Several-week-old pigs stand in a pen inside a barn at Paustian Enterprises in Walcott, Iowa, November 19, 2014. REUTERS/Daniel Acker
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China raised import duties on a $3 billion list of U.S. pork, apples and other products Monday in an escalating dispute with Washington over trade and industrial policy.Already, companies are looking ahead to a bigger fight over U.S. President Donald Trump's approval of higher duties on up to $50 billion of Chinese goods in response to complaints that Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.American farm exports to China in 2017 totaled nearly $20 billion, including $1.1 billion of pork products.There was no indication whether Beijing might exempt Chinese-owned American suppliers such as Smithfield Foods, the biggest U.S. pork producer, which is ramping up exports to China.The dispute reflects the wider clash between Trump's promise to narrow the U.S. trade surplus with China – a record $375.2 billion last year – and Beijing's ambitious plans to develop Chinese industry and technology. Last July, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin complained that the Chinese government's dominant role in China's economy was to blame for its yawning trade surplus.Trump ordered U.S. trade officials March 22 to bring a WTO case challenging Chinese technology licensing. It proposed 25 percent tariffs on Chinese products including aerospace, communications technology and machinery and said Washington will step up restrictions on Chinese investment in key U.S. technology sectors.
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