News Worms
News Worms


Trump to call for China trade investigation

Trump to call for China trade investigation

President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet on the sidelines of the Group of 20 Summit last month in Hamburg.

President Donald Trump is stepping up pressure on China over what the US perceives to be the theft of intellectual property, opening a new front of trade friction even as the world's largest economies try to work together to contain North Korea's nuclear threat.

President Trump on Monday will direct U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to determine whether to initiate a Section 301 investigation into China's intellectual property practices, according to senior administration officials. "If China helps us, I feel a lot different towards trade". If USTR moves forward, the investigation could take as long as a year.

President Trump plans to get tougher on trade with China.

It may also prove to be a source of leverage to push China to do more to help contain a rising security threat from North Korea, which counts Beijing as its only powerful ally.

"President Trump and President Xi agreed North Korea must stop its provocative and escalatory behavior", the statement said.

Global tensions have escalated as Trump and North Korean President Kim Jung Un traded threats of nuclear war in recent days.

He is tweeting: "Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely".

Chinese President Xi Jinping moved to calm nerves on Friday, telling the US president during a phone call that all sides should maintain restraint and avoid inflammatory comments.

The administration official who confirmed that Trump would sign the order contended it was unrelated to the showdown with North Korea. They added that the trade measure would be carried out under the rules of worldwide law and would not trigger greater conflict with China.

"Protection measures against some specific items, such as steel and aluminum, may gain political favors, but are not likely to be of much help to rebalance trade", economists at the Institute of International Finance wrote in a research note this week.

When asked about the delay in the call on Saturday, the officials did not address the question directly.

"We would like to emphasize that the Chinese government has always attached importance to intellectual property protection", a spokesman said.

The goal of this memorandum is to ensure American companies and workers are not subject to harmful policies by China in relation to intellectual property and to ensure that America continues to maintain its leadership in technology, an official stated. "This is why the president has chosen to act now and to act boldly", one administration official said.

It further complicates the already taut U.S. -China Economic and Security Review Commission, called the measure "a critical action, and long overdue".

In addition to the United States, the European Union, Japan, Germany and Canada have all expressed concern about China's behavior on intellectual property theft.

USTR argues Beijing uses a range of practices to force US companies to transfer IP, such as by granting regulatory approvals to drug makers that shift production to China or requiring that the designs of foreign products be replicable in China.

The official, who was speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that he doesn't believe this will lead to a period of conflict between the USA and China, adding, "this is simply business between two countries". The provision has fallen into disuse since the mid-1990s after the creation of the World Trade Organization.

The investigation is being ordered under US Trade Act of 1974, which officials said permits the USTR to investigate acts, policies or practices of a foreign country to determine whether they are indeed unreasonable or discriminatory that burden or otherwise restrict US commerce.

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

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