Trump to call for probe of 'unfair' Chinese trade practices

Trump to call for probe of 'unfair' Chinese trade practices

The policy shift, led by Mr. Trump's economic adviser, Peter Navarro - a longtime critic of Beijing's trade practices and the author of a recent book, "Death by China" - is unrelated to the ongoing effort to persuade China to act more forcefully in the North Korea crisis, a senior administration official said.

Trump informed Chinese President Xi Jinping Friday night of the upcoming memorandum, a senior administration official told CNN Friday. But the United States has rarely used the trade tool since the WTO came into being in 1995. "An important question going forward will be whether US companies and trade associations who have highlighted the problem will actually come forward and assist our government in the investigation or whether they will hide the facts, fearful that our government won't follow through, that the Chinese will retaliate against their interests or that they'll have to admit what's happened to their critical assets".

"President Trump's pattern continues: Tough talk on China, but weaker action than anyone could ever imagine", he said in a statement.

"I do think the United States and China need to sit down and negotiate a new trade deal, probably not a bilateral deal, but through some kind of multilateral forum to really address the heart of the problems that the two countries have with each other", he said.

The executive memorandum will also target trade-secret theft, which costs the US economy as much as $600 billion a year, the second administration official said.

But trade and national security experts widely noted that the announcement appeared to have been delayed until after China joined the United States in voting for sanctions against North Korea at a United Nations Security Council session on August 5.

"A decision to trigger Section 301 today is problematic because it would provide additional fuel to the already simmering argument that the Trump administration is undoing the American commitment to rules-based trade and decades of work to establish global cooperation", he said.

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"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. -China Economic and Security Review Commission, a watchdog group established by Congress. "Those activities haven't abated; they've accelerated as China seeks to become self-sufficient in new technologies and dominate world markets", he said.

Trump planned to launch the trade investigation more than a week ago, but he delayed the move in favor of securing China's support for expanded United Nations sanctions against North Korea, the senior administration official said.

At the end of March, Trump asked the Commerce Department to prepare a report on the causes of the trade deficit, country by country and product by product, in 90 days.

Section 301, once heavily used in the 1980s and the early 1990s, allows the US president to unilaterally impose tariffs or other trade restrictions against foreign countries.

Trump was reported to direct U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to determine if an investigation is warranted of "any of China's laws, policies, practices or actions that may be unreasonable or discriminatory, and that may be harming American intellectual property, innovation and technology". -China trading relationship. But analysts have cautioned that Trump faces a huge challenge in his desire to significantly reduce the USA trade deficit with China, which previous year stood at more than $300 billion. The process can bypass World Trade Organization procedures for adjudicating grievances.

There are "a wide variety of potential responses".

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