Trump White House to look into China's trade practices

14 August, 2017, 01:21 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Trump Vacation

US senior administration officials have said Trump will sign an administrative memorandum on Monday ordering the Office of the United States Trade Representative to start a Section 301 investigation into China's trade practices, including alleged intellectual property theft.

"China's been engaged in the theft and forced transfer of US technologies and intellectual property for years", added Mr. Wessel, a former Democratic congressional staff member.

The policy shift, led by Mr. Trump's economic adviser, Peter Navarro - a longtime critic of Beijing's trade practices and the author of a recent book, "Death by China" - is unrelated to the ongoing effort to persuade China to act more forcefully in the North Korea crisis, a senior administration official said.

In a phone call Friday, Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for backing the recent United Nations vote to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea, and the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. -China Economic and Security Review Commission, a bipartisan group created by Congress in 2000 to monitor trade and security issues between the world's two largest economies.

The measure would seek to address what the USA business community has described as flagrant trade violations by China, which employs a variety of rules and practices to wall its market off from foreign competition and pressure US companies to part with valuable product designs and trade secrets - or to steal them outright.

"President Trump and President Xi agreed North Korea must stop its provocative and escalatory behavior", the statement said.

When reports of the potential trade investigation first emerged more than a week ago, China's Commerce Ministry stressed the importance of U.S. Dialogue, negotiations and a political settlement are the fundamental ways of solving the Korean Peninsula's nuclear issue, Xi said during the call, according to China's CGTN state television network. "This is why the president has chosen to act now and to act boldly", one administration official said.

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They added, "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". Though they are largely missing out on the giant consumer market, they also fear their technologies being stolen.

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.

Chinese commercial policy aimed to acquire and absorb the intellectual property of the United States and other countries around the world, according to the officials. Meanwhile, 100 days of trade talks with the Chinese carried out in past months resulted in a few trade gains but not the ambitious changes the administration had hoped for.

Section 301, once heavily used in the 1980s and the early 1990s, allows the USA president to unilaterally impose tariffs or other trade restrictions against foreign countries. -China trading relationship. But analysts have cautioned that Trump faces a huge challenge in his desire to significantly reduce the US trade deficit with China, which past year stood at more than $300 billion.

Should Lighthizer decide to launch such an investigation, "he will have at his discretion broad powers to use all applicable measures, including, but not limited to, Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, which provides a basis for addressing technology transfer practices that may be harming the US economy, exports and American jobs", an administration official said.

Since the World Trade Organization (WTO) was established in 1995, the USA has not imposed any trade investigations or sanctions based on Section 301 because that kind of unilateral action violates WTO rules requiring trade disputes among its members to be addressed on the WTO platform. That initiative sets forth a long-term plan for China's dominance in a wide variety of high-tech industries, including electric vehicles, advanced medical products and robotics.

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