7 August US-U.S. President Donald Trump has allegedly postponed a speech targeting Chinese intellectual property and trade practice after his attempt was denounced by Chinese authorities.
According to CNBC, Trump’s speech, which was scheduled to be made at the White House on Friday, Aug. 4, has been postponed with no explanation given and no reschedule date provided. Earlier this week, CNBC cited senior White House officials, noting that the president was set to criticize China’s trade practices and sign a memo asking U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to look into the matter.
The postponement comes on the heel of Chinese authorities’ response to the issue on Thursday, Aug.3. Chinese Commerce Ministry Spokesperson Gao Feng denied the allegations that Chinese authorities have not done enough to protect intellectual property, reiterating that all disputes should be solved under the supervision of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Though the reason for the postponement remains unclear, many experts have expressed concern over Trump’s consideration of using section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974—a trade weapon that put a dent in Japanese steel and other imports in the 1980s—to tackle China’s growing economic power.
“Section 301 is a rarity since the WTO was initiated in 1995, but many Trump administration officials have expressed discontent with the organization. Lighthizer, for instance, might support Trump targeting China. When he served as deputy U.S. trade representative in the 1980s, section 301 was used extensively to deal a blow to Japanese trade,” said Zhang Chenling, a Beijing-based expert in international relations.
Section 301, if initiated, will allow Trump to unilaterally take all “appropriate” actions, including retaliation, to obtain the removal of any act or practice of the Chinese government that is deemed “unfair.”