Trump to call for China trade investigation

Words matter

The investigation could take as long as a year, US officials said.

The official said Trump informed Chinese President Xi Jinping about his executive order during their phone call last night.

According to a third senior administration official, these investigations could take as much as a year before the US Trade Representative could come out with its determination. They said that USA companies had long suffered because of Chinese intellectual property violations, and that they expected Congress and the business community to support the measure.

The concerns about China's practices include policies that encourage businesses to share or turn over their technology to joint venture partners, and China's use of state funds to promote its own intellectual property.

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. That statement didn't mention the executive action, but said the leaders discussed North Korea policy and Trump's visit to China later this year.

Trump is to make a day trip to Washington tomorrow, briefly interrupting his 17-day working vacation, a White House official said on Friday. It was not immediately clear whether he was talking about trade was the subject.

On Saturday, administration officials said the new trade measure was "totally unrelated" to events with North Korea.

As the crisis has unfolded, Trump has alternated praising China for its help and chiding it for not ratcheting up pressure on its Asian neighbor.

President Donald Trump will start the beginning steps Monday of a long awaited crackdown on Chinese intellectual property practices, administration officials told reporters Saturday.

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The trade investigation could strain relations between the US and China as the two countries wrestle with the unpredictable situation over North Korea.

"President Trump and President Xi agreed North Korea must stop its provocative and escalatory behavior", the statement said. They added that the trade measure would be carried out under the rules of global law and would not trigger greater conflict with China.

The White House said the "relationship between the two presidents is an extremely close one, and will hopefully lead to a peaceful resolution of the North Korea problem". 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.

An official continued on to say that there is more than $600 billion of intellectual property theft against USA companies with China responsible for a huge portion of that.

"China's unfair trade practices and industrial policies including forced technology transfer and intellectual property theft harm the U.S. economy and its workers", a second administration official said.

Trump has requested similar inquiries on trade, but the reports haven't been delivered on deadline.

President Trump plans to get tougher on trade with China.

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.

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