The US is expected to launch an investigation into state support for China’s shipbuilding and maritime sectors.

Whether it will take up US labour unions’ request for that probe to result in port fees against Chinese-built ships and then spend the cash to revitalise the American shipbuilding sector is less certain.

The proposal is part of a petition by United Steelworkers and other labour groups calling for an investigation into what they call “unfair” practices by Beijing to support the Chinese shipbuilding and maritime sector.