Trump 'to call for China IP trade probe tomorrow'

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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.

Trump will make a day trip to Washington, D.C., on Monday, briefly interrupting his 17-day August working vacation, a White House official said on Friday. "An important question going forward will be whether USA companies and trade associations who have highlighted the problem will actually come forward and assist our government in the investigation or whether they will hide the facts, fearful that our government won't follow through, that the Chinese will retaliate against their interests or that they'll have to admit what's happened to their critical assets".

"China's unfair trade practices and industrial policies, including forced technology transfer and intellectual-property theft, harm the USA economy and workers", a second official said. "I think China can do a lot more" to help curb North Korea, "and I think China will do a lot more", Trump told reporters at his golf course in Bedminster, N.J., on Thursday.

"The Chinese leader expressed Beijing's willingness to maintain communication with the U.S.to appropriately resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue", the network reported.

Trump's order will initiate a two-stage process for confronting China over a variety of "laws, policies, practices or actions" that require American companies to transfer valuable technology or other proprietary information to get permission to do business in China.

Despite Mr. Trump's promises to be tougher than previous presidents on trade, his administration has proceeded with high levels of caution.

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

The results of three separate investigations into trade deficits and the national security threats posed by imports of steel and aluminum, initially expected by the end of June, have yet to appear. 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. Officials, speaking to reporters on the Saturday conference call, said their intention was not to punish Beijing but to negotiate an agreement that clawed back some of the estimated $600 billion in intellectual property theft officials estimate is perpetuated by China. But the United States has rarely used the trade tool since the WTO came into being in 1995. That initiative sets forth a long-term plan for China's dominance in a wide variety of high-tech industries, including electric vehicles, advanced medical products and robotics.

"It wasn't just the Obama administration, the Bush administration, the Clinton administration tended to do that as well", said Bown, adding that previous USA administrations have successfully used the WTO to get other countries to change their policies that were breaking the rules.

"An important question going forward will be whether US companies and trade associations who have highlighted the problem will actually come forward and assist our government in the investigation", said Michael Wessel, a member of the U.S. -China Economic and Security Review Commission, called the measure "a critical action, and long overdue".

It is possible that affected USA companies "will hide the facts, fearful that our government won't follow through, that the Chinese will retaliate against their interests or that they'll have to admit what's happened to their critical assets", Wessel added. "Those activities haven't abated; they've accelerated as China seeks to become self-sufficient in new technologies and dominate world markets", he said. -China trade ties and of resolving differences "through dialogue and consultation".

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