Trump to call for China IT trade probe on Monday

Trump to call for China IT trade probe on Monday

Trump's threat to investigate China's intellectual property and trade practices is valid, but his administration may not be up to the delicate task of carrying out a new China probe without sparking a damaging trade war, USA business lobbyists said last week.

Saturday that Trump spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the upcoming memo during a phone call Friday.

Trump's call with Xi and his potential plans to open the broad trade investigation come against the backdrop of rising tensions over North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

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

While administration officials said Saturday that it's too early to discuss specific actions against China, such an investigation could eventually pave the way for Trump to impose tariffs on Chinese goods.

"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 worldwide cooperation", argued Bown, who worked as a senior economist for global trade and investment in the White House Council of Economic Advisers and the World Bank.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer took issue with that assessment.

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Any investigation that may be launched could take as long as a year to conclude, a third official said. This past week, Trump said he could soften his views on trade if China stepped up its assistance, leading to speculation that the investigation could be a negotiating tactic. "If China helps us, I feel a lot differently toward trade". It was apparently put on hold while the US lobbied China and other U.N. Security Council members to impose new sanctions on North Korea. "They know how I feel", he told reporters on Thursday. -China trading relationship. But analysts have cautioned that Trump faces a huge challenge in his desire to significantly reduce the US trade deficit with China, which a year ago stood at more than $300 billion.

Trump will make a day trip to Washington, D.C., on Monday, briefly interrupting his 17-day August working vacation, a White House official said on Friday.

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.

The officials said that matter, and the trade issue, are not linked.

The Section 301, which was passed in 1974 and heavily used in 1980s and early 1990s, would allow the US president to unilaterally impose tariffs or other trade restrictions against foreign countries. If an investigation begins, the US government could seek remedies either through the World Trade Organization or outside of it.

"We're at the beginning of this process and no firm decisions have been made as to how that is going to work in terms of whether we would pursue WTO action or action outside the WTO", the first administration official said. "Innovation in the USA economy should not be put at risk by policies that force companies to turn over their proprietary technologies and intellectual property". The technology sector has been especially hard hit in IP disputes.

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