President Donald Trump is expected to launch an investigation Monday into possible Chinese intellectual property violations.
As part of the memorandum Trump is set to sign at 3 p.m. EST, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would launch an investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, which allows the president to impose certain tariffs or trade restrictions on China in order to protect U.S. companies.
Should the investigation prove that China has stolen technology and intellectual property from U.S. companies, sanctions could follow.
"Considering the importance of the China-U.S. relations, China is willing to make joint efforts with the United States to keep trade and economic relations on sustained, healthy and stable development on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit," said a foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying.
Some experts worry that imposing trade restrictions on China could "trigger a trade war."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.