Trump to call for China trade investigation

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Trump informed Chinese President Xi Jinping Friday night of the upcoming memorandum, a senior administration official told CNN Friday. Lighthizer will recommend whether an official investigation into trade practices is warranted.

Trade experts and business leaders said the new investigation into intellectual property could be a sign that the trade agenda is shifting into the hands of United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer, a respected negotiator who helped implement some of the most protectionist trade policies of recent decades during the Reagan administration.

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.

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.

China, North Korea's most important ally and trading partner, has reiterated calls for calm during the current crisis. "But if China helps us, I feel a lot differently toward trade - a lot differently toward trade".

Friday morning, Trump tweeted that USA military solutions were "locked and loaded" in case North Korea followed through on its threat.

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"Trade is trade; national security is national security", said one official, who, like the others, spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with administration practice.

It wasn't immediately clear how China would react to the move. That finding reportedly came from a confidential US intelligence assessment. They added that the trade measure would be carried out under the rules of global law and would not trigger greater conflict with China.

In addition to the United States, the EU, Japan, Germany and Canada have all expressed concern about China's behavior on intellectual property theft.

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis told reporters Thursday the U.S.is focused on a diplomatic approach to the North Korean threat but that it's his job to have military options ready if they're needed. "And I think China will do a lot more".

"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".

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. Instead, he is leading the administration is dusting off a variety of powerful and unilateral measures under USA trade law, many of which the United States stopped using after the creation of the WTO, which has its own mechanisms to settle trade disputes.

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