Trump to take executive action into China's trade practices

Вашингтон и Пекин обратились с призывом к КНДР

US President Donald Trump will sign a memorandum Monday that could lead to sanctions against China over its intellectual property practices, administration officials said Saturday.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has also urged US authorities to abide by WTO rules in its trade measures and resolve differences with China through dialogue and consultation. Trump has accused China of failing to rein in the nuclear ambitions of its ally North Korea, even as he makes ever sharper threats against Pyongyang.

The latest step follows the opening by the Trump administration of several other investigations into Chinese commercial practices, notably in the steel sector. The language indicated China wants to push forward with a diplomatic proposal for North Korea that the Trump administration has brushed aside.

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. They reiterated their mutual commitment to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, the White House said in a statement.

Reuters cited USA senior administration officials as saying on Saturday that President Trump will order his top trade adviser on Monday to determine whether to investigate Chinese trade practices that force US firms operating in China to turn over intellectual property. Xi sought to lower the temperature after Trump's vow to rain down "fire and fury" on North Korea, urging restraint and a political solution.

Gordon Sun (孫明德), director of the Economic Forecasting Center under the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, warned that if the USA eventually imposes trade sanctions against China, "Taiwan should not take pleasure in (China's) misfortune".

"It wasn't just the Obama administration, the Bush administration, the Clinton administration tended to do that as well", said Bown, adding that previous USA administrations have successfully used the WTO to get other countries to change their policies that were breaking the rules.

The decision will not only take action against alleged Chinese violations of USA companies' intellectual property rights, but could also be perceived as an attempt by the US government to crank up the pressure on Beijing to rein in North Korea.

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"Most Americans are fully aware that China is stealing our intellectual property", they added.

When asked about the delay during the Saturday call, the officials did not address the question directly.

"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.

The move, which is not yet an official investigation, could lay the groundwork for one.

Michael Wessel, a commissioner on the U.S.

"China's unfair trade practices and industrial policies, including forced technology transfer and intellectual property theft, harm the USA economy and workers", a second official told reporters. "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'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.

"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. While Trump officially withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an Obama-era trade deal, and will begin talks next week to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, other planned trade measures have been slow to materialize.

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