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Trump to order investigation into Chinese trade practices

Trump to order investigation into Chinese trade practices”

Trump plans to direct U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to launch an investigation into Chinese violations of the U.S. trade, including forced intellectual property transfers and patent thefts, CNN quoted senior administration officials as saying. "To make an announcement that they're going to decide whether to have an investigation on China's well-documented theft of our intellectual property is another signal to China that it is O.K.to keep stealing".

Trump has said he would be more amenable to going easy on Beijing if it were more aggressive in reining in North Korea.

Officials who briefed reporters on Saturday denied the investigation into alleged IP theft and North Korea's weapons programmes were related.

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke by telephone on Friday and reiterated their mutual commitment to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, the White House said in a statement.

"China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the USA retaliates, China will stay neutral", the Global Times said in an editorial.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has stressed the importance of China-US trade ties and urged the US authorities to abide by WTO rules in its trade measures.

"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 plans to return to Washington from his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, to sign the executive memorandum, the officials said.

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. "They know how I feel", he told reporters on Thursday.

Responding to a question, a senior administration official said many other countries are facing similar problem with respect to China.

Michael Froman, former USTR under the Obama administration, has also warned that the United States could face retaliation if the country moves away from resolving trade disputes through the WTO and instead starts taking unilateral actions.

Trump has consistently raised issues over what he has called China's "unfair" trade practices, including during last year's presidential campaign.

"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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