Trump to call for China trade investigation

Trump to call for China trade investigation

"It's not going to continue like that", Trump said from his golf club in Bedminster, N.J.

Mr Trump has suggested he would go easier on China if it were more forceful in getting North Korea to rein in its nuclear weapons programme.

Officials at the White House and the US Trade Representative's Office were not immediately available for comment.

According to Trump advisors, on Monday, the president plans to sign an executive memorandum, which is a step below an executive order, directing trade officials to investigate China's "acts, policies or practices" that violate global protections for American intellectual property, innovations and technology.

The commissioned report may take a year to compile but could lead to United States sanctions against Beijing. Pyongyang this week threatened to fire missiles near the US territory of Guam during an exchange of bellicose rhetoric with Trump.

The administration official who confirmed that Trump would sign the order contended it was unrelated to the showdown with North Korea.

The results of three separate investigations into trade deficits and the national security threats posed by imports of steel and aluminum, initially expected by the end of June, have yet to appear. "They know how I feel", he told reporters on Thursday. Trump made addressing the US trade deficit with China a centerpiece of his campaign a year ago and has suggested raising tariffs on goods from China.

Additional evidence of a connection between the trade action and the North Korea crisis comes from the fact the executive memorandum Trump will sign on Monday was originally expected more than a week ago.

Although Beijing joined in a unanimous UN Security Council decision to tighten economic sanctions on Pyongyang over its long-range missile tests, it is not clear whether Trump thinks Beijing is doing enough. That effort passed by a 15-0 vote.

Trump will direct US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to determine whether any Chinese laws, policies or practices discriminate against or harm American innovators and technology companies, the officials said.

But, the official added: "I don't think we're headed toward a period of greater conflict". Many U.S. businesses must create joint ventures with Chinese companies and turn over valuable technology assets, a practice that Washington says stifles U.S. economic growth. "The current trajectory is unsustainable".

Such tariffs are politically expedient because Trump "sort of promised that" to his supporters in the manufacturing-dependent mid-west USA states, which have seen great job losses in the past decade, Kuhn noted. Such an investigation easily could last a year.

Lighthizer is well versed in Section 301 from his stint as deputy USTR in the Ronald Reagan administration, when it was more frequently used.

Since the World Trade Organization (WTO) was established in 1995, the US has not imposed any trade investigations or sanctions based on Section 301 because that kind of unilateral action violates WTO rules requiring trade disputes among its members to be addressed on the WTO platform.

The administration probably is eager to make progress on trade, one of Trump's biggest campaign issues, after a recent series of legislative setbacks, trade experts said.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, bluntly accused China of "stealing our intellectual property" - long a concern of Western companies seeking a share of the enormous Chinese market. That initiative sets forth a long-term plan for China's dominance in a wide variety of high-tech industries, including electric vehicles, advanced medical products and robotics.

"These are two different things", the official said, speaking to reporters on a conference call.

Trump has not yet signed an order to launch such an investigation, she said, and her agency can not assess its possible impact on Taiwan until Washington discloses detailed information on the products that will be investigated.

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