U.S. President Donald Trump is considering launching an inquiry into what he considers unfair Chinese trade practices, including accusations of steel dumping and theft of U.S. intellectual property, Reuters and the Financial Times reported.
An investigation, if launched, would fall under section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act, Reuters reported, citing "a senior Trump administration official" who said a decision on how to respond to Chinese trade practices could come as early as this week.
Under section 301, the U.S. president is reportedly authorized to unilaterally impose duties or other trade restrictions to protect U.S. commerce from "unfair trade practices" of other countries.
The U.S. has been considering imposing new restrictions on Chinese steel imports but the latest development is said to follow Trump's frustration over the perceived failure of China to rein in North Korea's missile program. "I am very disappointed in China ... they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk," Trump said on Twitter on July 30, as reported by the Financial Times. "We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!"
Administration officials have been carefully analyzing proposals, and the White House is apparently working out how to proceed, the FT reported, citing "people briefed on the discussions."