Treasury Secretary alleges fake news

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is dismissing as “fake news” media reports that the Trump administration is readying restrictions this week on Chinese investment in American technology companies and high-tech exports to China.

Mnuchin said on Twitter Monday that reports by the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg news are “false, fake news. The leaker either doesn’t exist or know the subject very well” and that any restrictions would not be aimed solely at China but at “all countries that are trying to steal our technology.”

In March, however, President Donald Trump directed the Treasury Department to pursue “investment restrictions” designed to “to address concerns about investment in the United States directed for facilitated by China in industries or technologies deemed important to the United States.”

The Trump administration accuses Beijing of predatory practices in its attempt to supplant U.S. technological dominance, including cybertheft and forcing U.S. companies to turn over technology in exchange for access to China’s market. It is planning to impose tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods July 6 — a figure that could rise to $450 billion if China refuses to back down and retaliates with sanctions of its own.

In Beijing, China’s foreign ministry expressed concern over the reports that Trump plans to curb Chinese investments in the United States, and urged Washington to provide a “good, fair, and predictable” environment for Chinese companies.

“We hope the U.S. side will see these (Chinese) companies’ business activities in an objective manner, and provide Chinese companies a good, fair and predictable environment for their investment and business activities,” Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unidentified sources, said the initiatives were aimed at preventing Beijing from moving ahead with plans to develop companies able to compete globally in technologies including biotech and electric vehicles.