An announcement of President Donald Trump's trade action against China initially slated for Friday has been postponed, the media reported.
Sources told Politico news that Trump was scheduled to hold an event at the White House on Friday in which he would direct US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to open an investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 over what the administration views as Chinese violations of American intellectual property rights and forced technology transfer.
The sources did not give an explanation for why the announcement was postponed, nor did they provide a date for when it would be rescheduled.
According to experts, the move would immediately ramp up tensions between Washington and Beijing and could lead to steep tariffs on Chinese goods.
Any Section 301 action by the administration against China would produce a lengthy probe that could extend into all aspects of Chinese industrial policies.
Unilateral US trade sanctions could be the ultimate result, Politico news quoted the experts as saying.
Section 301 allows the US to take unilateral action against countries that impose barriers to American exports that could take the form of increased import duties, but would likely violate World Trade Organisation rules.
US companies have complained they are often forced to share valuable technology with Chinese counterparts as a condition of doing business in the country.