China bans North Korean coal and iron imports following tough United Nations sanctions

Tuesday, 15 Aug, 2017

If the investigation finds that China is harming US companies, the Trump administration could respond by imposing tariffs, negotiating an agreement with China, or other measures, the officials said.

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. But Trump also told Xi about the move toward a possible inquiry into China's trade practices, according to two US officials familiar with that conversation. Such an investigation easily could last a year.

China on Monday formally issued an order to implement the latest United Nations sanctions on North Korea, including a ban on all imports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead and seafood. Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, said at the time that she wanted to "personally thank" the Chinese delegation.

Chinese President Xi Jinping asked his USA counterpart Donald Trump for moderation on the Korean peninsula issue on a phone conversation on Friday.

"China's unfair trade practices and industrial policies including forced technology transfer and intellectual property theft harm the U.S. economy and its workers", a second administration official said.

The U.S. -drafted resolution looks to increase economic pressure on North Korea in an attempt to open up negotiations on the nuclear missile program.

The administration has been eyeing other moves to rebalance the U.S.

China's ministry of commerce issued the order implementing the sanctions after tensions between Pyongyang and Washington rose to risky levels last week.

China bans North Korean coal and iron imports following tough United Nations sanctions
China bans North Korean coal and iron imports following tough United Nations sanctions

'Considering the importance of the China-US relations, China is willing to make joint efforts with the United States to keep trade and economic relations on sustained, healthy and stable development on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit'.

"Intellectual property (IP) theft is yesterday's issue", wrote Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Rather than launching straight into a probe, USTR will merely consider whether to begin an investigation under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act.

Outwardly, at least, Chinese leaders appear to be reacting calmly to Trump's words because they understand that they need not be taken seriously, said White, the former defence strategist for Australia.

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. The provision has fallen into disuse since the mid-1990s after the creation of the World Trade Organization.

"The U.S.' overall trade deficit in 2016 was US$502.3 billion, with its deficit with China exceeding US$300 billion", the editorial continued. "One of the major pillars of that industrial policy is what China itself calls "the acquisition and absorption" of Western technology". It was unclear whether the issue of trade came up.

But in a report this year, the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property named China as the main offender, estimating the cost to the US economy at up to $600 billion a year.

"China also funds and facilitates the acquisition of USA firms that possess advanced technologies", the officials said.