March 19, 2018

Trump May Roll Out Probe Into China and Intellectual Property Theft

13 August 2017, 12:40 | Glen Norman

US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shake hands prior to a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 8, 2017.

On Monday, Trump is expected to direct U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to look into alleged Chinese violations of U.S. trade, including forced intellectual property transfers and patent thefts, according to senior administration officials who spoke Saturday.

Mr Trump has suggested he would go easier on China if it were more forceful in getting North Korea to rein in its nuclear weapons programme.

The administration official who confirmed that Trump would sign the order contended it was unrelated to the showdown with North Korea.

"These are two different things", the official said, speaking to reporters on a conference call.

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Officials at the White House and U.S. Trade Representative's office were not immediately available for comment. "The action being taken on Monday is a reflection of the president's firm commitment to addressing this problem in a firm way".

"It will just lead other countries to retaliate against us or perhaps even worse, imitate us, and take action on their own without regard to global obligations", he said.

"President Trump's pattern continues: Tough talk on China, but weaker action than anyone could ever imagine", he said in a statement.

The Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property says that China is the world's principal intellectual property infringer.

The launch of the investigation is later than originally expected, and the timing is significant. This past week, Trump said he could soften his views on trade if China stepped up its assistance, leading to speculation that the investigation could be a negotiating tactic.

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"We lose hundreds of billions of dollars a year on trade with China".

"I think China can do a lot more", Trump told reporters on Thursday.

Gao noted that China and the U.S. will push forward the bilateral trade and economic relation in the basic principle of win-win cooperation and resolve differences "through dialogues and consultations".

Trump informed Chinese President Xi Jinping Friday night of the upcoming memorandum, a senior administration official told CNN Friday. Lighthizer can do so under Section 302 (b) of the Trade Act of 1974, which outlines the process by which USTR can initiate an investigation "by means other than petition", a senior official told reporters on August 12. If an investigation begins, the US government could seek remedies either through the World Trade Organization or outside of it.

"The United States government can, and does, work with countries to address serious concerns such as North Korea while also pursuing measures to address economic concerns, such as the theft of U.S. intellectual property", a U.S. National Security Council official said.

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