Published: Sat, August 12, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Donald Trump to call for China IT trade probe on Monday

Donald Trump to call for China IT trade probe on Monday

The Trump administration is insisting the move isn't tied to heightening tensions with North Korea, but it is inherently connected to complications in the region.

"China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the USA retaliates, China will stay neutral", the Global Times said in an editorial. "This is simply business".

According to Trump advisors, on Monday, the president plans to sign an executive memorandum, which is a step below an executive order, directing trade officials to investigate China's "acts, policies or practices" that violate worldwide protections for American intellectual property, innovations and technology.

It's impossible, however, to see the move as somehow disconnected from the back-and-forth rhetoric between the USA and North Korea over the past week. Trump has suggested he would go easier on China if it were more forceful in getting North Korea to rein in its nuclear weapons program.

"I am very disappointed in China", he said on July 29 on Twitter.

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The United States has previously complained at the WTO about Chinese trade policies, including its "Made in China 2025" initiative, which seeks to have Chinese-made materials account for 70 percent of manufacturing inputs within the next eight years.

"We will no longer allow this to continue".

"I think China can do a lot more", Trump told reporters on Thursday.

Politico said it was not clear how much detail Trump would provide in his announcement, but that administration officials expected U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to open a section 301 probe.

If the investigation finds that China is harming US companies, the Trump administration could respond by imposing tariffs, negotiating an agreement with China, or other measures, the officials said. "They should not be forced to turn over the fruits of their labor".

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A state-run newspaper urged that China should remain neutral if North Korea follows through on its plans to fire missiles near Guam, Reuters reported Friday. The vote passed with unanimous support from all 15 member nations, including Russian Federation and China.

In a call Friday, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed that North Korea must stop its "provocative and escalatory behavior" and reaffirmed their commitment to denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, the White House said.

Should an investigation find wrongdoing, Trump could impose tariffs against Chinese imports, which would mark a significant escalation in his efforts to reshape the trade relationship between the world's two largest economies.

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