China and Europe warn trade war could trigger global recession

Chinese President Xi Jinping

Even the bond market may be having an effect on investor appetite for stocks: The spread between the yield on 2-year and 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds - or the yield curve - has contracted to its slimmest level since 2007.

With the Trump administration reportedly set to crack down on Chinese investment in certain technologies, American tech giants like Netflix, Amazon, Google, and Facebook shed significant shareholder value today, as the sector bore the brunt of spiraling investor concerns.

The measures are part of a broader dispute over intellectual property. The move comes after the European Union pushed back on Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs with its own duties on politically significant USA products like motorcycles.

A survey released last week by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China showed that a slim majority of members thought foreign-invested companies are treated unfairly, and nearly two-thirds see a lack of reciprocity between the access to China's markets that they get, and the access Chinese companies get to Europe.

The White House is also expected to unveil new rules later this week that would restrict Chinese investment in U.S. technology such as robotics and aerospace.

Spokespersons for the Treasury, Commerce Department and the White House did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment on the proposed restrictions.

The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that the initiatives would block companies with more than 25% Chinese ownership from buying "industrially significant" technology companies.

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"The only thing that's going to happen in the near term is on Friday the Treasury secretary is going to report to the president on the issue related to China".

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweeted the report was "fake news", saying the statement was not specific to China, but all countries who are tying to steal United States technology.

But Wall Street's major indexes only pared losses after White House trade adviser Peter Navarro indicated a softer stance on investment restrictions in a CNBC interview.

Those costs are starting to sink in.

Harley-Davidson, the dominant player in the US motorcycle market said on Monday it would not pass on the cost of European Union tariffs to customers and instead focus on shifting some USA production to other countries.

It said it would shift some production out of the USA to try to avoid the costs.

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