Wednesday, 23 August, 2017

Trump Pressures China On Trade; Executive Action Expected Monday

Needles returned to the Lexington Fayette County Health Department via a needle exchange program Needles returned to the Lexington Fayette County Health Department via a needle exchange program. Credit Mary Meehan
Lance Thomas | 13 August, 2017, 00:37

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

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's action amounts to a request that his trade representative determine whether an investigation is needed under the Trade Act of 1974. Lighthizer will recommend whether an official investigation into trade practices is warranted.

Trump, now on a 17-day working summer vacation at his golf resort in New Jersey, is returning to the White House for a day on Monday to sign this executive order. It was not immediately clear whether he was talking about trade was the subject. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the order before Trump's formal announcement.

A former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell has accused President Trump of conducting foreign policy as though he was in the casino business. "They know how I feel", Mr Trump told reporters last Thursday.

When reports of the potential trade investigation first emerged more than a week ago, China's Commerce Ministry stressed the importance of U.S.

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.

Credit Alexandra Kanik | Ohio Valley Re Source  “Always a Struggle”
Credit Alexandra Kanik | Ohio Valley Re Source “Always a Struggle”

China urged the United States and North Korea on Friday to be "cautious" with their words and actions after the two sides stepped up their bellicose rhetoric over Pyongyang's weapons programme.

"We would like to emphasize that the Chinese government has always attached importance to intellectual property protection", a spokesman said. Trump suggested that if China helped rein in North Korea, which is reliant on Beijing's economic and security aid, he could lighten up on his attacks on Chinese trade practices, which were a mainstay of his election campaign.

Politico said the trade probe would not mean immediate sanctions, but could ultimately lead to steep tariffs on Chinese goods.

The forced sharing of intellectual property with Chinese firms has been a long-standing concern of the US business community.

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.

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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