Trump 'to call for China IP trade probe tomorrow'

Trump 'to call for China IP trade probe tomorrow'

President Trump on Monday will start a process that could lead to action against China, which has been accused of stealing American businesses' intellectual property, even as he seeks Beijing's help against nuclear threats from North Korea.

A Section 301 investigation normally lasts one year.

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

In a phone call Friday, Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for backing the recent United Nations vote to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea, and the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

President Trump is planning to ask his staff to consider investigating Chinese trade practices, senior White House officials said Saturday.

Trump has been trying for months to get China to exert more pressure on North Korea, but has recently expressed frustration with the lack of progress. Pyongyang this week threatened to fire missiles near the US territory of Guam during an exchange of bellicose rhetoric with Trump.

The president's trade action will be a long way from any punitive move against China, despite his and his advisors' open talk of Chinese "theft" and "stealing" of US companies' intellectual property, which broadly includes technological innovations, film and other artistic products, industrial designs and military secrets.

China's foreign and commerce ministries did not immediately respond to faxed requests for comment Sunday.

They added that the trade measure would be carried out under the rules of worldwide law and would not trigger greater conflict with China. "President Trump is committed to protect America's intellectual property and national security", the official said. "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".

It's impossible, however, to see the move as somehow disconnected from the back-and-forth rhetoric between the US and North Korea over the past week.

"It's somewhat reminiscent to me of the history of World War I and how the world kind of blundered into that", Clapper told Don Lemon on "CNN Tonight" on Thursday. "I don't think we are there yet".

The trade investigation is expected to be only one part of a multi-pronged push by the Trump administration to counter perceived Chinese trade abuses, which Trump frequently railed against as a candidate.

The manufacturer of the iPhone was forced in late July to remove certain apps that would have allowed users to circumvent extensive online restrictions imposed by the Chinese government. 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 U.S. economy is estimated to be as high as Dollars 600 billion a year.

"Protection measures against some specific items, such as steel and aluminum, may gain political favors, but are not likely to be of much help to rebalance trade", economists at the Institute of International Finance wrote in a research note this week.

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