Trump 'to call for China IP trade probe tomorrow'

Trump to call for China IT trade probe on Monday: Politico

Trump to direct Lighthizer to assess Chinese intellectual property practices

Mr Trump has suggested he would go easier on China if it were more forceful in getting North Korea to rein in its nuclear weapons programme.

The investigation could take as long as a year, USA officials said.

It also said that the two "reiterated their mutual commitment to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".

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

President Trump plans to get tougher on trade with China.

The trade investigation could strain relations between the US and China as the two countries wrestle with the unpredictable situation over North Korea.

"The [U.S. -China] relationship could spiral out of control, particularly if the movement on the trade front is combined with growing tensions over how to respond to North Korea", said Scott Kennedy, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

On Saturday, administration officials said the new trade measure was "totally unrelated" to events with North Korea.

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

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The objective of this memorandum is to ensure American companies and workers are not subject to harmful policies by China in relation to intellectual property and to ensure that America continues to maintain its leadership in technology, an official stated.

China has traditionally been North Korea's closest ally but it voted in favour of a series of sanctions last weekend against Kim Jong-un's government at a UN Security Council vote.

"Americans are among the most innovative", said one official.

Michael Wessel, a commissioner on the U.S.

"China's been engaged in the theft and forced transfer of USA technologies and intellectual property for years". But they may not know that China is forcing and coercing American companies that operate in China to turn over their technology. Meanwhile, 100 days of trade talks with the Chinese carried out in past months resulted in a few trade gains but not the ambitious changes the administration had hoped for.

Politico said it was not clear how much detail Mr Trump would provide in his announcement, but that officials expected US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to open a Section 301 probe.

A 2013 report by a commission co-chaired by Jon Huntsman, ambassador to China under President Barack Obama and Trump's nominee to be Russian envoy, pegged the losses from United States intellectual property theft at hundreds of billions of dollars annually that cost the USA economy millions of jobs.

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. "And I think China will do a lot more".

The administration has been eyeing other moves to rebalance the U.S. "We have been working very closely with China and with other countries".

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