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>> It's gonna make us a much stronger, much richer nation.>> President Donald Trump on Thursday, set the stage for tariffs of as much as $60 billion on Chinese imports. A move likely to unleash retaliation from China amid rising fears of a global trade war.>> This is the first of many.
>> Following through on his America First agenda, Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum targeting, quote, China's economic aggression. He says China has engaged in the theft of US technology secrets over decades. The threat in tariffs follows investigation by the US trade representative that he said shall Beijing had US companies into handing over their intellectual property as a price of doing business in China.
The findings also say the Chinese had in some cases been stealing intellectual property outright or buying US firms just to get access to their technology. Trump says those actions have contributed to a massive trade imbalance with China and drained away US jobs.>> It is the largest deficit of any country in the history of our world.
>> Reporter David Louder is on the story.>> This is a very slow moving train that Donald Trump has set in motion. There's a lengthy consultation period for the list of products that will be put under tariff's in which interested parties, the industries, importers can object. So there's gonna be a furious amount of lobbying to try and get excluded from any tariffs that Trump may be considering.
>> Beijing pushed back Thursday, denying the charges and preparing a range of responses, possibly cutting back imports from US farmers. Thursday's move is Trump's most dramatic on trade so far, coming soon after he slapped punishing taxes on imported aluminum and steel. That action was viewed as another shot at China but one that could also hit hard in other nations.
>> We're talking to China. We're talking to European Union.>> On Thursday, after talks in Washington, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said she expects the US will announce a tariff exemption for Europe.