U.S. President Donald Trump may soon attempt to increase pressure on China to change its trade practices and do more to stop North Korea’s weapons programs.
Reports in the financial press say President Trump may sign an order as soon as Friday to start an investigation of Chinese demands that foreign companies share technology secrets in exchange for access to the massive Chinese market. That investigation could, eventually, lead to higher tariffs on Chinese-made products headed for the U.S. market, which is the world’s largest. Trade experts warn the action might violate U.S. commitments under the World Trade Organization.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recently wrote that China’s trade practices, including forced technology transfer, are unfair, hurt U.S. exports, and contribute to a $347 billion deficit in the trade in goods between the United States and China.
As a presidential candidate, Trump harshly criticized China approach to commerce. He has also said has said China, which is North Korea’s neighbor and major trading partner, could do far more to stop Pyongyang’s efforts to improve nuclear weapons and missiles. U.S. experts warn that North Korean missile and bomb tests show that nation is a growing threat to the United States.
Trump’s tough stance on trade issues helped him win votes from working class voters who believe they have lost jobs due to unfair foreign competition. His approach was a break with the traditional Republican pro-trade and pro-business stance. Earlier this week, Trump’s Democratic party opponents accused Trump of talking tough about trade issues but failing to take effective action.