Trump Seeks Probe by His Trade Office of China's Practices

JIM WATSON  AFP  Getty Images

Unfortunately, despite China's attempts to soothe the two leaders and keep the peace, all while placating the United States on the sanctions deal, Trump still has plenty of ire with Xi Jinping.

China has appointed a new special envoy for Pyongyang who will be tasked with defusing the crisis in the Korean peninsula amid a war of words between the USA and North Korea, the mainland's foreign ministry said.

Since March, customs data has shown no coal cargoes have arrived from North Korea in the world's top user of the fuel.

Despite Monday's expected action, Trump has so far refrained from making good on threats of retaliatory trade measures against China. "We will engage in a thorough investigation and, if needed, take action to preserve the future of USA industry", a statement said.

China has announced it will cut off imports of North Korean coal, iron ore and other key goods in three weeks under United Nations sanctions imposed over the North's nuclear program.

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.

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.

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"I'm sure they will formally reject this if an investigation is launched and there is an implication this is going to require negotiation to resolve it", Goodman said.

This includes in particular concerns over Beijing's requirement that foreign companies establish local joint ventures.

"I think China can do a lot more (about North Korea)".

The Chinese commerce ministry said on its website that all imports of coal, iron, iron ore and seafood will be "completely prohibited" from Tuesday.

The Chinese announcement comes days after an increasingly aggressive rhetoric between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Trump previously has spoken out against what he believes are lopsided trade agreements with China.

The forced sharing of intellectual property with Chinese firms has been a long-standing concern of the US business community, with reports suggesting that losses stemming from it could total hundreds of billions of dollars annually that cost the USA economy millions of jobs. That should have made the White House happy, as China is one of the only countries that will trade with North Korea (above board, that is).

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