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Beijing questions US trade probe but hints at concessions

China says majority of trade surplus involves end products for foreign companies

While China tries to dissuade the U.S. from a trade probe, it is also making a show of cooperation in areas such as reducing output of aluminum, stores of which are seen here.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- China is opposing a U.S. inquiry into its trade practices by downplaying the enormity of their trade imbalance, while at the same time signaling compromise on imports and metals production in an effort to avoid friction.

U.S. President Donald Trump directed his trade representative last week to examine whether to launch an investigation into alleged intellectual property theft by China under the rarely used Section 301 of a 1974 American trade law. The U.S. formally launched an investigation last Friday. Such a probe carries the possibility of import tariffs and other measures aimed at reducing the U.S. trade deficit with Beijing.

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