U.S. President Donald Trump will call on Monday for his chief trade adviser to investigate China's intellectual property practices, website Politico reported, citing an unnamed administration official.
American companies "should not be forced or coerced to turn over the fruits of their labour", the official said, adding that the cost of intellectual theft on United States economy is estimated to be as high as Dollars 600 billion a year.
The administration official who confirmed that Trump would sign the order contended it was unrelated to the showdown with North Korea.
The Chinese policies of an American company to enter into a join venture with a Chinese company to do business is "not fair", the official said.
"China is widely recognised as the biggest source of the problem", he said.
"I don't think we're heading toward a period of greater conflict (with China)", said one White House official. This past week, Trump said he could soften his views on trade if China stepped up its assistance, leading to speculation that the investigation could be a negotiating tactic.
"President Trump and President Xi agreed North Korea must stop its provocative and escalatory behavior", the statement said. -China trade ties and of resolving differences "through dialogue and consultation".
"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".
"Trade is trade, national security is national security", the official stated.
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Trump reciprocated the sentiment and suggested that the stalemate between the USA and North Korea could have had a different outcome, had he been the president in years past.
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However, Guam's security agency has issued a fact sheet with advice on what residents should do in the event of a nuclear attack. Trump offered reassurance to residents of Guam, saying "I feel that they will be very safe" despite North Korea's threats.
It further complicates the already taut U.S.
If the investigation finds that China is harming USA companies, the Trump administration could respond by imposing tariffs, negotiating an agreement with China, or other measures, the officials said.
USTR argues Beijing uses a range of practices to force US companies to transfer IP, such as by granting regulatory approvals to drug makers that shift production to China or requiring that the designs of foreign products be replicable in China.
Trump's action amounts to a request that his trade representative determine whether an investigation is needed under the Trade Act of 1974. Instead, he is leading the administration is dusting off a variety of powerful and unilateral measures under USA trade law, many of which the United States stopped using after the creation of the WTO, which has its own mechanisms to settle trade disputes.
Politico said it was not clear how much detail Trump would provide in his announcement, but that administration officials expected U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to open a section 301 probe.
The title of the so-called "301 investigation" that Trump is expected to call for Lighthizer to consider, refers to Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974, which authorizes the president to work to remove or retaliate against a practice by a foreign government that is "unjustifiable and burdens or restricts United States commerce".
"China's unfair trade practices and industrial policies including forced technology transfer and intellectual property theft harm the U.S. economy and its workers", a second administration official said.
The U.S. business community, which traditionally lobbied U.S. administrations to take a softer approach toward Beijing to protect access to a profitable market, has shifted toward a tougher stance on China in response.