Trump to unveil punishing trade actions against China Thursday


Posted on: March 21st, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump is set to announce actions the United States will take against China to combat what the administration claims are unfair practices related to intellectual property.

“Tomorrow, the president will announce the actions he has decided to take based on [the U.S. Trade Representative]’s 301 investigation into China’s state-led, market-distorting efforts to force, pressure, and steal U.S. technologies and intellectual property,” deputy press secretary Raj Shah said in a statement.

The specific nature of these actions was not detailed.

The White House’s confirmation of the pending announcement comes amid reports that the president will roll out steep tariffs of tens of billions annually against China. The White House declined to confirm those figures on Wednesday, but a USTR official said that tariffs and investment restrictions are options that the president will have at his disposal based on the USTR’s investigation into China’s practices.

The investigation, which was initiated in August of last year to look into China’s practices as it relates to intellectual property, was very “getting very close” to concluding on Wednesday, the official said.

Among China’s behaviors that the U.S. has investigated is a whether the country has used state funds to purchase U.S. intellectual property, as well as China’s practice of not allowing U.S. companies the same abilities as Chinese companies to license intellectual property in China.

The official said that the USTR has found that the World Trade Organization and other negotiations with China have not been sufficient in reining in the country’s behavior.

“Is the WTO alone going to be able to get at a lot of these things? No. Can you simply sit down and get them to sign on to commitments and then trust that those commitments are going to solve the problem? No,” the official said.

The official also said the administration has been engaged in a months-long effort to engage with China diplomatically on its intellectual property practices and said there’s been an extensive interagency process.

“As of today, the administration has not been satisfied with the types of responses we’ve been getting from China and now we’re getting very close to the end of potentially this 301 investigation, so obviously the president will have the final say,” the official said.

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