Trump Pressures China On Trade; Executive Action Expected Monday
August 23 2017, 10:58 | Irvin Gilbert
Trump to direct Lighthizer to assess Chinese intellectual property practices
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.
The move, which is not yet an official investigation, could lay the groundwork for one. It was not immediately clear whether he was talking about trade was the subject. "And I think China will do a lot more".
The president's trade action will be a long way from any punitive move against China, despite his and his advisors' open talk of Chinese "theft" and "stealing" of US companies' intellectual property, which broadly includes technological innovations, film and other artistic products, industrial designs and military secrets.
Trump has escalated his harsh criticism of North Korea for days, tweeting Friday that the USA had military options "locked and loaded".
It may also prove to be a source of leverage to push China to do more to help contain a rising security threat from North Korea, which counts Beijing as its only powerful ally. -China trade ties and of resolving differences "through dialogue and consultation".
The officials would not confirm reports that the trade action Trump plans to initiate on Monday had been delayed more than a week, until the administration secured China's support last week to win a unanimous vote in the U.N. Security Council for imposing new sanctions on North Korea. "The results are there for all to see".
It was not clear how much detail Trump would provide in his announcement, Politico said, but added that administration officials expected US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to open a probe. "Maybe it wasn't tough enough", Trump told reporters. China has called on South Korea and the U.S.to suspend large scale military exercises in return for the North halting its programs in order to facilitate talks.
The trade investigation is expected to be only one part of a multi-pronged push by the Trump administration to counter perceived Chinese trade abuses, which Trump frequently railed against as a candidate.
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.
The U.S. business community, which traditionally lobbied U.S. administrations to take a softer approach toward Beijing to protect access to a profitable market, has shifted toward a tougher stance on China in response.