Trump plan on China may come as soon as this week – media

13:58, 31 July 2017
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President Donald Trump's top advisers are huddling behind the scenes in a bid to craft a set of economic measures meant to punish China, two administration officials told POLITICO.

REUTERS

Trump's aides met over the weekend and will continue the discussions on Monday, with a final decision expected as soon as this week, the officials said, POLITICO reported.

They said there are a range of options on the table, including trade restrictions. Other possibilities include economic sanctions. But the officials said it's too early to say what the president might decide.

The escalating situation in North Korea, including Friday's latest intercontinental ballistic missile test, has heightened the urgency of crafting a cogent China strategy. The president believes China is not doing enough to stop North Korea from building a nuclear weapon that could strike U.S. soil – and he has long complained, both in public and in private, that the Chinese are engaging in unfair trade practices.

"I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!" Trump said on Twitter over the weekend.

Read alsoNorth Korea: U.S. says 'no value' in UN security council meeting – BBCTrump's frustrations about the ballistic missile test, and a sense that Chinese officials aren't committed to helping on North Korea, are making it more likely for him to act, one White House adviser said.

Some of Trump's harder-line aides – like policy adviser Stephen Miller, chief strategist Stephen Bannon and trade adviser Peter Navarro – have long pushed the president to take a tougher line against China.

Trump's advisers have been meeting for months to discuss trade issues. The president is weighing targeting Chinese steel imports with tariffs, quotas or a mix of both. But officials said the current discussion isn't centered solely on steel-related trade restrictions.

A White House spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump suggested in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal that a decision on steel imports wasn’t imminent. The Commerce Department is still finalizing an investigation that is expected to cite national security concerns as a rationale for imposing trade restrictions on steel imports.

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