Trump Pressures China On Trade; Executive Action Expected Monday

Trump speaks to reporters after a security briefing at his golf estate in Bedminster New Jersey

"If this is the expression of Trumpian economic nationalism, most trade advocates are going to breath a sigh of relief", said Scott Lincicome, an worldwide trade attorney at the law firm White & Case.

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

President Trump on Monday will start a process that could lead to action against China, which has been accused of stealing American businesses' intellectual property, even as he seeks Beijing's help against nuclear threats from North Korea.

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 USA companies' intellectual property, which broadly includes technological innovations, film and other artistic products, industrial designs and military secrets.

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.

President Trump on Monday will direct U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to determine whether to initiate a Section 301 investigation into China's intellectual property practices, according to senior administration officials. It needs to make clear its stance to all sides and make them understand that when their actions jeopardize China's interests, China will respond with a firm hand. "An important question going forward will be whether US companies and trade associations who have highlighted the problem will actually come forward and assist our government in the investigation or whether they will hide the facts, fearful that our government won't follow through, that the Chinese will retaliate against their interests or that they'll have to admit what's happened to their critical assets".

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

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

Kennedy of CSIS says business leaders express a range of opinions, depending on how much they discrimination they face in China and how key Chinese profits are to their business. Xi, in his phone conversation with Trump, urged calm.

Worldwide tensions have escalated as Trump and North Korean President Kim Jung Un traded threats of nuclear war in recent days.

Trump has requested similar inquiries on trade, but the reports haven't been delivered on deadline. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had hoped to finish the review by June, but parts of it remain in the final stages of interagency review.

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