President Trump to launch investigation into China trade violations

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Washington and Beijing urged Pyongyang to cease provocations and de-escalate the situation

On Monday, Trump is expected to direct U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to look into alleged Chinese violations of U.S. trade, including forced intellectual property transfers and patent thefts, according to senior administration officials who spoke Saturday.

The United States has previously complained at the WTO about Chinese trade policies, including its "Made in China 2025" initiative, which seeks to have Chinese-made materials account for 70 percent of manufacturing inputs within the next eight years.

The officials said that matter, and the trade issue, are not linked.

In a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the two leaders reaffirmed their shared desire for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

U.S. businesses are often forced to create joint ventures with a Chinese partner and turn over valuable technology assets, a practice the White House claims stymies USA economic growth.The latest review will be conducted by the United States trade representative under the Trade Act of 1974. Many U.S. businesses must create joint ventures with Chinese companies and turn over valuable technology assets, a practice that Washington says stifles U.S. economic growth.

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The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has also urged US authorities to abide by WTO rules in its trade measures and resolve differences with China through dialogue and consultation.

USA officials will particularly examine the role of joint ventures, the mixed foreign-and-Chinese companies whose establishment is required for any outside business wishing to sell its products in China.

"The relationship could spiral out of control, particularly if the movement on the trade front is combined with growing tensions over how to respond to North Korea", said Scott Kennedy, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Trump has sought to leverage trade and North Korea with China for months, initially expressing optimism after hosting Xi at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, only to later grow discouraged that Beijing was not following through. "They know how I feel", Trump told reporters on Thursday.

Trump has escalated his harsh criticism of North Korea for days, tweeting Friday that the US had military options "locked and loaded".

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China is widely seen as critical to any resolution to the nuclear crisis because of its outsize role as North Korea's main economic benefactor.

Sun said there were two kinds of Taiwanese products that could be hurt by possible trade sanctions, the most obvious being goods assembled in China before they are shipped to the U.S.

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.

Trump has requested similar inquiries on trade, but the reports haven't been delivered on deadline.

Since the World Trade Organization (WTO) was established in 1995, the US has not imposed any trade investigations or sanctions based on Section 301 because that kind of unilateral action violates WTO rules requiring trade disputes among its members to be addressed on the WTO platform.

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The results of three separate investigations into trade deficits and the national security threats posed by imports of steel and aluminum, initially expected by the end of June, have yet to appear. 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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