The Trump administration is purportedly preparing trade measures against China, including a crackdown on intellectual property theft, signaling a shift by the Trump administration away from working with Beijing, The Hill reports.
Several media outlets reported Tuesday that an announcement by the Trump administration could come at any time, and could include the office of the United States Trade Representative starting an investigation into China’s trade practices.
After an investigation, the U.S. could start placing tariffs on imports from China. Specific policies by the administration were not made clear in initial reports.The administration has been mulling trade action against China, the largest holder of U.S. debt, as tensions between the U.S. and North Korea rise.
Trump appeared optimistic on Chinese relations with North Korea, which depends on China for much of its energy, after he hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping in April at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump at that meeting encouraged Jinping to rein in North Korea.
However, North Korea has continued its development of nuclear weapons and launched its second ballistic missile in less than a month last Friday, raising concerns about Pyongyang’s abilities to strike the U.S. mainland.
Administration officials said earlier this week that the administration was considering economic sanctions, trade restrictions or other measures against China.Trump over the weekend went on Twitter to express his disappointment with China, which he says should be doing more to control North Korea.
The president has also repeatedly warned that he’d take a tougher economic line with China, as he accuses past U.S. leaders of being weak and allowing a trade deficit with Beijing to rise.
“I am very disappointed in China,” Trump tweeted on Sunday. “Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do nothing for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!” Trump said.
China’s Made in China 2025 policy sets goals for China to be a global leader in several industries, and has led to significant progress by the country in the fields of driverless cars, medical devices and artificial intelligence among other technical fields.Trade policies by the Trump administration would aim to curb China’s use of U.S. intellectual property in those industries and punish them for intellectual property theft.