Trump to China: Trade probe is coming Monday

Trump to China: Trade probe is coming Monday

Mr. Trump, who will interrupt a 17-day working vacation to make a day trip to Washington for the trade announcement, had been expected to seek a so-called Section 301 investigation earlier this month, but an announcement was postponed as the White House pressed for China's co-operation on North Korea.

Trump's action amounts to a request that his trade representative determine whether an investigation is needed under the Trade Act of 1974.

Trump has said he would be more amenable to going easy on Beijing if it were more aggressive in reining in North Korea.

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

Trump said Friday that he planned to call Chinese President Xi Jinping that evening.

In addition to the United States, the European Union, Japan, Germany and Canada have all expressed concern about China's behaviour on IP theft.

Trump has escalated his harsh criticism of North Korea for days, tweeting Friday that the USA had military options "locked and loaded".

On Monday, Trump is expected to direct U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to look into alleged Chinese violations of U.S. trade, including forced intellectual property transfers and patent thefts, according to senior administration officials who spoke Saturday.

"By trying to incriminate Beijing as an accomplice in the DPRK's nuclear adventure and blame it for a failure that is essentially a failure of all stakeholders, Trump risks making the serious mistake of splitting up the worldwide coalition that is the means to resolve the issue peacefully", it said.

U.S. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer took issue with that assessment. Xi "stressed that China and the USA share the same interests on the denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula". -China trade ties and of resolving differences "through dialogue and consultation".

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. "President Trump is committed to protect America's intellectual property and national security", the official said.

The administration has been eyeing other moves to rebalance the U.S. But they may not know that China is forcing and coercing American companies that operate in China to turn over their technology. It was unclear whether the issue of trade came up. Lighthizer will recommend whether an official investigation into trade practices is warranted.

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, US business lobbyists said last week. The process can bypass World Trade Organization procedures for adjudicating grievances.

Textiles were North Korea's second-biggest export after coal and other minerals past year, totalling US$752 million (S$1.02 billion), according to data from the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency.

The Section 301, which was passed in 1974 and heavily used in 1980s and early 1990s, would allow the United States president to unilaterally impose tariffs or other trade restrictions against foreign countries.