Trump 'to call for China IP trade probe tomorrow'

Thousands of North Korea's top military officers have marched through Pyongyang in a show of support for their dictator Kim Jong-un

Thousands of North Korea's top military officers have marched through Pyongyang in a show of support for their dictator Kim Jong-un

Even as he seeks Beijing's help on North Korea, President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order asking his trade office to consider investigating China for the alleged theft of American technology and intellectual property, an administration official said Saturday.

The new measure comes amid high tensions between Washington and Beijing. There is no deadline for deciding if any investigation is necessary. It also allows USTR to self-initiate an investigation, but once a probe is launched a clock starts ticking that requires action within a year.

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

The United States should resort to rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), not unilateral trade tools such as Section 301, to resolve trade disputes with China, a former White House economist has said. They were not authorized to publicly discuss the private call and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Such thefts not only damage American companies, but also pose a threat to the USA national security, the second official said. These limitations forced many foreign companies into joint ventures with Chinese entities, many of them state-owned, effectively a form of technology transfer.

Trump's action amounts to a request that his trade representative determine whether an investigation is needed under the Trade Act of 1974. However, the USA pledged in the mid-1990s to settle disputes through the World Trade Organization dispute settlement system rather than by taking unilateral action.

It wasn't immediately clear how China would react to the move.

While Beijing has promised to open more industries to foreign companies, it also has issued new rules on electric vehicle manufacturing, data security, internet censorship and other fields.

Mr Trump will make a day trip to Washington, DC, tomorrow, 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" - Michael Wessel, member of the U.S.

Trump 'to call for China IP trade probe tomorrow'
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.

Did Trump back-pedal on plan to hit China with trade sanctions?

"I think China can do a lot more", Trump told reporters Thursday. "Numerous concerns about IP-related antitrust enforcement have been focused on China", the FTC statement said. They reiterated their mutual commitment to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, the White House said in a statement.

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

The timing of the investigation is sensitive, given a steep escalation in military tensions between the USA and North Korea, a traditional ally and trading partner with China. He said it would be premature to speculate on actions that could eventually be taken against China, and added that the issue could be resolved through "negotiated agreement".

The US officials said "Chinese commercial policy has a major goal, the acquisition and the absorption of the intellectual property of the United States and other countries around the world". "If China helps us, I feel a lot differently toward trade".

Trump has requested similar inquiries on trade, but the reports haven't been delivered on deadline.

A possible move by the United States to launch an investigation into China's unfair trade practices based on Section 301 of the Trade Act has Taiwan anxious because many of its products sold to the US are processed or assembled in China.

Similarly, the president also asked for a review about whether steel and aluminum imports were jeopardizing national security.

Danish submarine owner arrested over missing journalist
The Navy said the sub was seen sailing, but then sank shortly afterwards. He claims he dropped the woman off at Refshaleøen three hours later.

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