Trump 'to call for China IP trade probe tomorrow'

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Trump will sign an executive memorandum on Monday directing U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to consider investigating China over its IP policies, especially the practice of forcing U.S. companies operating in China to transfer technological know-how, administration officials said Saturday on a conference call with reporters.

The announcement will come amid rising tensions between the US and North Korea.

Trump's threat to investigate China's intellectual property and trade practices is valid, but his administration might not be up to the delicate task of carrying out a new China probe without sparking a damaging trade war, U.S. business lobbyists said last week.

"Americans are among the most innovative", said one official.

An official continued on to say that there is more than $600 billion of intellectual property theft against US companies with China responsible for a huge portion of that.

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.

Still, Trump's actions stop short of what some analysts had been expecting him to do on intellectual property. "If China helps us, I feel a lot different toward trade".

U.S. Air Force A-10 attack aircraft wait to take off on the runway at the Osan U.S. Air Base in Pyeongtaek South Korea Thursday Aug. 10 2017. North Korea on Wednesday officially dismissed President Donald Trump's threats of
Trump 'to call for China IP trade probe tomorrow'

The administration official who confirmed that Trump would sign the order contended it was unrelated to the showdown with North Korea. 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. But trade and national security experts widely noted that the trade announcement appeared to have been delayed until after China joined the United States in voting for sanction against North Korea at a United Nations Security Council session on August 5. China is the world's principal IP infringer, the commission said.

If the investigation finds that China is harming US companies, the Trump administration could respond by imposing tariffs, negotiating an agreement with China, or other measures, the officials said.

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 administration is likely eager to make progress on trade, one of Trump's biggest campaign issues, after a recent series of legislative setbacks, trade experts said. The Chinese trade announcement is expected to be part of his agenda. Meanwhile, 100 days of trade talks with the Chinese carried out in past months resulted in a few trade gains but not the ambitious changes the administration had hoped for. The provision has fallen into disuse since the mid-1990s after the creation of the World Trade Organization.

Used frequently during the Reagan administration in the 1980s, the law allows the U.S. president to impose tariffs and other measures to force open export markets. "Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet. they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk". That initiative sets forth a long-term plan for China's dominance in a wide variety of high-tech industries, including electric vehicles, advanced medial products and robotics. "And I think China will do a lot more".

The U.S. business community, which traditionally lobbied U.S. administrations to take a softer approach toward Beijing to protect access to a profitable market, has shifted toward a tougher stance on China in response. "It's not going to continue like that", he said.