Trump to direct Lighthizer to assess Chinese intellectual property practices

Defence & Security                   
      |      The Trump Presidency                      
       Korea Trump's nuclear bluster

Defence & Security | The Trump Presidency Korea Trump's nuclear bluster

US President Donald Trump is tomorrow to call for his chief trade adviser to investigate China's intellectual property practices, Web site Politico reported, citing an unnamed administration official. "And I think China will do a lot more". Such an investigation easily could last a year.

"China is widely recognised as the biggest source of the problem", he said.

Yet analysts said the measure could also backfire, resulting in more hostility and tension between the world's two largest economies at a time when their cooperation is critical to a diplomatic resolution on North Korea.

Beijing has been voicing some alarm at the growing war of words between Washington and Pyongyang, which included a warning from Trump this week that North Korea would face "fire and fury" if it kept threatening the US. "Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!" Trump tweeted Friday that military solutions are "locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely".

Trump informed Chinese President Xi Jinping Friday night of the upcoming memorandum, a senior administration official told CNN Friday.

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

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Trump, in the past, has tied trade policy to national security.

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

"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 move, which is not yet an official investigation, could lay the groundwork for one.

Michael Wessel, a commissioner on the U.S.

The forced sharing of intellectual property with Chinese firms has been a long-standing concern of the US business community. "Those activities haven't abated; they've accelerated as China seeks to become self-sufficient in new technologies and dominate world markets", he said. If an investigation begins, the US government could seek remedies either through the World Trade Organization or outside of it.

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At the end of March, Trump asked the Commerce Department to prepare a report on the causes of the trade deficit, country by country and product by product, in 90 days.

It was not clear how much detail Trump would provide in his announcement, Politico said, but added that administration officials expected US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to open a probe.

"China's unfair trade practices and industrial policies including forced technology transfer and intellectual property theft harm the USA economy and its workers", a second administration official said.

Meanwhile, China has continued to maintain barriers that prevent USA companies from accessing its market, while adding new requirements for US companies to share technology with the Chinese state, like a recent cybersecurity law.

The administration has been eyeing other moves to rebalance the U.S. "And I think China will do a lot more".

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