Trump Blasts 'Obstructionist' Democrats Over Trade Deals

Lucy Bush
August 15, 2017

"If the US uses Section 301 (of the Trade Act) to pressure China, countries in China's export chain, including the US, Japan and South Korea, would be affected", said Liu Ligang, Chief Economist for China at Citigroup.

That's the clear message from Beijing on Monday as Trump prepares to order a probe into alleged China trade abuses, such as the theft of intellectual property from American firms. "There will be no victor", she added, noting that all World Trade Organization members must respect its rules.

"We will safeguard the copyrights, patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and other intellectual property that is so vital to our security and to our prosperity".

However, the start of a United States inquiry would not immediately result in open confrontation.

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As the crisis involving North Korea has unfolded, Trump has alternated praising China for its help and chiding it for not ratcheting up pressure on its Asian neighbor.

North Korea was ranked 18th among China's foreign iron ore suppliers last year, although volumes have jumped this year.

Since launching his successful run for the White House and then taking office, Trump has frequently accused China of undermining the USA economy.

Among the latest banned products, China imported Dollars 74.4 million worth of iron ore in the first five months of this year, nearly equalling the figure for all of 2016. Beijing had already announced a suspension of coal imports in February. The move represents the first step in a process that could allow Trump to impose tariffs on Chinese imports or other punishing trade actions.

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Despite Monday's expected action, Trump has so far refrained from making good on threats of retaliatory trade measures against China.

In an editorial Monday, the China Daily, a mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, linked Trump's trade announcement against China to his disappointment over China's purported failure to rein in North Korea.

China announced Monday it will cut off imports of North Korean coal, iron and lead ore and other goods in three weeks under United Nations sanctions imposed against Pyongyang. "If China helps us, I feel a lot differently towards trade", he told reporters at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, while on a holiday.

While Beijing has promised to open more industries to foreign companies, it also has issued new rules on electric auto manufacturing, data security, internet censorship and other fields. According to Washington, this can mean surrendering technological know-how to Chinese partners.

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