Saturday, 21 October, 2017

Trump 'to call for China IP trade probe tomorrow'

Trump 'to call for China IP trade probe tomorrow' Trump 'to call for China IP trade probe tomorrow'
Wilma Wheeler | 14 August, 2017, 00:57

After the investigation is completed, the trade office will discuss its findings with related American companies and the Department of Commerce before the president proposes remedial measures, according to Yang.

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.

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke by phone on Friday night.

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

Senior administration officials on Saturday outlined the White House's plan to pressure China over policies that "force or coerce" American companies to hand over valuable technology to do business there - but they denied the effort was motivated by the crisis over North Korea.

Should Lighthizer decide to launch such an investigation, "he will have at his discretion broad powers to use all applicable measures, including, but not limited to, Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, which provides a basis for addressing technology transfer practices that may be harming the US economy, exports and American jobs", an administration official said.

Officials rebutted suggestions the move was meant to pressure China to do more to rein in North Korea, its main trading partner.

The measure would seek to address what the US business community has described as flagrant trade violations by China, which employs a variety of rules and practices to wall its market off from foreign competition and pressure USA companies to part with valuable product designs and trade secrets - or to steal them outright. Pyongyang this week threatened to fire missiles near the US territory of Guam during an exchange of bellicose rhetoric with Trump.

"The problems will not be solved by bashing China", Kuhn said, "They will be solved by reeducation (of workers) over the long term, so that these people can have different kinds of, new kinds of jobs". "The results are there for all to see".

Trump, who is on a working vacation at his New Jersey golf club, said Friday that he planned to be in Washington on Monday "for a very important meeting'" and "we're going to have a pretty big press conference".

An administration official, however, insisted diplomacy over North Korea and the potential trade probe were "totally unrelated", saying the trade action was not a pressure tactic. "They know how I feel", Mr Trump told reporters last Thursday.

But, the official added: "I don't think we're headed toward a period of greater conflict".

But experts say China, which accounts for around 90% of North Korea's foreign trade, is unwilling to squeeze Kim's regime hard enough to make it give up on its nuclear program because that would risk the chaotic collapse of a state that Beijing wants to keep as a strategic buffer.

Administration officials emphasized Saturday that they are a long way from deciding what, if any, action to take if a Section 301 is launched and finds that China has engaged in unfair trade practices.

The latest step follows the opening by the Trump administration of several other investigations into Chinese commercial practices, notably in the steel sector.

The United States has previously complained at the WTO about Chinese trade policies, including its "Made in China 2025" initiative, which seeks to have Chinese-made materials account for 70 percent of manufacturing inputs within the next eight years.

Since the World Trade Organization (WTO) was established in 1995, the US has not imposed any trade investigations or sanctions based on Section 301 because that kind of unilateral action violates WTO rules requiring trade disputes among its members to be addressed on the WTO platform.

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