President Donald Trump is ready to launch a new trade crackdown on China next week, an administration official confirmed.
Trump on Monday will call for an investigation into China over allegations that the nation violated U.S. intellectual property rights and forced technology transfers, the official said. While it’s unclear how much detail Trump will get into in the announcement, administration officials expect U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to open an investigation against China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.
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The pending announcement comes amid heightened tension between the United States and China, even after the Trump administration scored a victory in persuading Beijing to sign onto new United Nations sanctions on North Korea.
It is not clear whether China has the motivation to close off the spigot entirely with North Korea. China is North Korea’s main trading partner, and it is not interested in seeing the economic collapse of the regime, which could send a flood of refugees into China and destabilize its northern provinces.
The ordering of the investigation will not immediately impose sanctions but could lead to steep tariffs on Chinese goods. Trump has expressed frustration in recent months over what he sees as China’s unfair trade policies.