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Trump 'to call for China IP trade probe tomorrow'

14 August 2017

"The President would sign an executive memorandum that directs the US Trade Representatives (USTR) Robert Lighthizer to determine if it is consistent whether to investigate any of China's laws, policies, practices or actions that make unreasonable or discriminatory or may be harming American intellectual property, innovation of technology", a senior administration official told reporters. If an investigation begins, the US government could seek remedies either through the World Trade Organization or outside of it.

The move will not likely include sanctions but it could lead to steep tariffs on Chinese goods, according to Politico. In April, he said he wouldn't label China a currency manipulator, in return for help in dealing with North Korea.

Mr. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke by telephone on Friday and reiterated their mutual commitment to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, the White House said in a statement.

"President Trump's pattern continues: Tough talk on China, but weaker action than anyone could ever imagine", he said in a statement. Xi, in his phone conversation with Trump, urged calm. Dialogue, negotiations and a political settlement are the fundamental ways of solving the Korean Peninsula's nuclear issue, Xi said during the call, according to China's CGTN state television network.

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U.S. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer took issue with that assessment. Xi "stressed that China and the USA share the same interests on the denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula".

They added that the trade measure would be carried out under the rules of global law and would not trigger greater conflict with China. While China joined in a unanimous United Nations Security Council decision to tighten economic sanctions on Pyongyang over its long-range missile tests, it is not clear whether Mr Trump thinks Beijing is doing enough.

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

He simply will initiate the latest investigation of intellectual property theft in a long line of them running back through past administrations.

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"If Americans continue to have their best technology and intellectual property stolen, or forcibly transferred offshore, the United States will find it hard to maintain its current technology-leadership position and to remain one of the world's most innovative economies".

The forced sharing of intellectual property with Chinese firms has been a long-standing concern of the US business community.

The president's trade action will be a long way from any punitive move against China, despite his and his advisors' open talk of Chinese "theft" and "stealing" of US companies' intellectual property, which broadly includes technological innovations, film and other artistic products, industrial designs and military secrets. But they may not know that China is forcing and coercing American companies that operate in China to turn over their technology.

Mr Trump's threat to investigate China's IP and trade practices is valid, but his administration may 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. It was not immediately clear whether he was talking about trade as the subject.

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Trump 'to call for China IP trade probe tomorrow'