Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Trump White House to look into China's trade practices

Trump White House to look into China's trade practices

US President Donald Trump will sign a memorandum Monday that could lead to sanctions against China over its intellectual property practices, administration officials said Saturday.

Alleged intellectual property theft by China has been an issue of particular concern to Silicon Valley.

During a media briefing on Saturday, administration officials rebutted the suggestion the trade action was meant to pressure China - North Korea's main trading partner and economic lifeline - to do more to rein in Pyongyang, even though Trump himself has said he would go easier on trade concerns with Beijing if they agreed to help put the squeeze on North Korea.

Critics, including the Indian-origin actor, suggest this tweet is a threat of violence, and hence, a violation of Twitter's clearly stated terms of service: Many seem to agree with Kal Penn, who previously worked with former US President Barack Obama: Some, however, are not convinced there's any threat of violence in Mr Trump's tweet: Mr Trump's Twitter missteps (remember ' covfefe') frequently make headlines and while some have previously called for Mr Trump's account to be suspended, even banned, it seems highly unlikely Twitter will actually act these requests.

The USTR Robert Lighthizer would consider whether to probe China's trade practices under Section 301 of the Trade Act, senior administration officials said, but they declined to say when the USTR's decision would be made.

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.

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.

The decision will not only take action against alleged Chinese violations of US companies' intellectual property rights, but could also be perceived as an attempt by the USA government to crank up the pressure on Beijing to rein in North Korea.

When reports of the potential trade investigation first emerged more than a week ago, China's Commerce Ministry stressed the importance of U.S.

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Police strongly denied rumours that a mosque was damaged during the gunfight between the security forces and the militants. Two soldiers were killed and six security personnel were injured in two separate encounters in Kashmir.

The administration has been eyeing other moves to rebalance the U.S. "They know how I feel", he told reporters on Thursday.

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".

The executive memorandum will also target trade-secret theft, which costs the US economy as much as $600 billion a year, the second administration official said. "China is widely recognised as the biggest source of the problem", he said.

Trump planned to launch the trade investigation more than a week ago, but he delayed the move in favor of securing China's support for expanded United Nations sanctions against North Korea, the senior administration official said. 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.

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

The process can bypass World Trade Organization procedures for adjudicating grievances.

The officials said that matter, and the trade issue, are not linked.

Any investigation could take as long as a year once it is formally launched, and will likely include a public comment period and a hearing, the official said. -China trade ties and of resolving differences "through dialogue and consultation".

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