Trump to request possible probe of China trade practices

Trump to request possible probe of China trade practices

Trump to request possible probe of China trade practices

Reuters cited USA senior administration officials as saying on Saturday that President Trump will order his top trade adviser on Monday to determine whether to investigate Chinese trade practices that force US firms operating in China to turn over intellectual property.

President Donald Trump warned Friday that US military resources were in place, "locked and loaded", should North Korea "act unwisely", as foreign leaders called on Washington and Pyongyang to end a cycle of rhetorical threats raising the specter of nuclear war. It was not immediately clear whether he was talking about trade was the subject.

Trump had been expected to order a so-called Section 301 investigation under the 1974 Trade Act earlier this month, but action had been postponed as the White House pressed for China's cooperation in reining in North Korea's nuclear program.

The investigation, which one USA official said could take as long as a year, may prove to be a source of leverage to push China to do more to help contain a rising security threat from North Korea, which counts Beijing as its only powerful ally.

President Trump plans to get tougher on trade with China.

"The relationship could spiral out of control, particularly if the movement on the trade front is combined with growing tensions over how to respond to North Korea", said Scott Kennedy, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Xi, in his phone conversation with Trump, urged calm. They reiterated their mutual commitment to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, the White House said in a statement. He said it would be premature to speculate on actions that could eventually be taken against China, and added that the issue could be resolved through "negotiated agreement".

The commissioned report may take a year to compile but could lead to United States sanctions against Beijing.

"This is a critical action, and long overdue", said Michael Wessel, a member of the U.S.

A 2013 report by a commission co-chaired by Jon Huntsman, ambassador to China under President Barack Obama and Trump's nominee to be Russian envoy, pegged the losses from United States intellectual property theft at hundreds of billions of dollars annually that cost the USA economy millions of jobs. They said that US companies had long suffered because of Chinese intellectual-property violations, and that they expected Congress and the business community to support the measure. "What they may not know is that China is also forcing and coercing American companies that operate in China to turn over their technologies".

"If Americans continue to have their best technologies and intellectual property stolen or forcibly transferred off-shore, the United States will find it hard to maintain its current technology leadership position", they added.

Politico said it was not clear how much detail Mr Trump would provide in his announcement, but that officials expected US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to open a Section 301 probe. 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.

The Trump administration has repeatedly attributed the country's economic slowdown and job losses to trade deficits with major trading partners including China and Mexico and vowed to change the situation by imposing tariffs and other non-tariff trade barriers if necessary.

However, the USA pledged in the mid-1990s to settle disputes through the World Trade Organization dispute settlement system rather than by taking unilateral action.

There are "a wide variety of potential responses".

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