clear
Saturday October 21st, 2017 8:59PM

Trump to request possible probe of China trade practices

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BEDMINSTER, N.J. (AP) — Even as he seeks Beijing's help on North Korea, President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order asking his trade office to consider investigating China for the alleged theft of American technology and intellectual property, an administration official said Saturday.

That step is expected Monday but won't come as a surprise to the Beijing government. There is no deadline for deciding if any investigation is necessary. Such an investigation easily could last a year.

In a phone call Friday, Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for backing the recent U.N. vote to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea, and the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. But Trump also told Xi about the move toward a possible inquiry into China's trade practices, according to two U.S. officials familiar with that conversation. They were not authorized to publicly discuss the private call and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Trump wants government officials to look at Chinese practices that force American companies to share their intellectual property in order to gain access to the world's second largest economy. Many U.S. businesses must create joint ventures with Chinese companies and turn over valuable technology assets, a practice that Washington says stifles U.S. economic growth.

Trump's action amounts to a request that his trade representative determine whether an investigation is needed under the Trade Act of 1974. If an investigation begins, the U.S. government could seek remedies either through the World Trade Organization or outside of it.

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

While Beijing has promised to open more industries to foreign companies, it also has issued new rules on electric car manufacturing, data security, internet censorship and other fields.

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 was not immediately clear whether he was talking about trade was the subject.

The administration official who confirmed that Trump would sign the order contended it was unrelated to the showdown with North Korea. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the order before Trump's formal announcement.

As the crisis has unfolded, Trump has alternated praising China for its help and chiding it for not ratcheting up pressure on its Asian neighbor.

"I think China can do a lot more," Trump told reporters Thursday. "And I think China will do a lot more."

Trump has escalated his harsh criticism of North Korea for days, tweeting Friday that the U.S. had military options "locked and loaded." Xi, in his phone conversation with Trump, urged calm.

"At present, relevant parties should exercise restraint and avoid words and actions that would escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula," Xi said, according to the statement provided by China's government.

Trump, in the past, has tied trade policy to national security. In April, he said he wouldn't label China a currency manipulator, in return for help in dealing with North Korea. 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.

The forced sharing of intellectual property with Chinese firms has been a long-standing concern of the U.S. business community.

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 US intellectual property theft at hundreds of billions of dollars annually that cost the U.S. economy millions of jobs.

Trump has requested similar inquiries on trade, but the reports haven't been delivered on deadline. Trump made addressing the U.S. trade deficit with China a centerpiece of his campaign last year and has suggested raising tariffs on goods from China.

At the end of March, Trump asked the Commerce Department to prepare a report on the causes of the trade deficit, country by country and product by product, in 90 days. The report has yet to be released.

Similarly, the president also asked for a review about whether steel and aluminum imports were jeopardizing national security. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had hoped to finish the review by June, but parts of it remain in the final stages of interagency review.

___

Boak reported from Baltimore. Associated Press writer Gillian Wong in Beijing contributed to this report.

___

Follow Boak on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JoshBoak and Lemire at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Business, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Mayer leads heading into decathlon's final event
Kevin Mayer took a commanding lead over Rico Freimuth at the world championships heading into the final event of the decathlon
2:32PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Trump's Venezuela comments pose challenges for Pence
Vice President Mike Pence is heading to Latin America on the heels of yet another provocative statement from the president that he is sure to have to answer for
2:28PM ( 12 minutes ago )
The Latest: Co-leaders tee off for 3rd round at PGA
The Latest: The co-leaders of the PGA Championship are on the course for the third round.
2:10PM ( 29 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Egypt's Moussa rejects calls to extend presidential terms
The head of the panel that drafted Egypt's 2014 constitution, possibly the most progressive in the country's history, has denounced calls to amend the charter, saying parliament should focus instead on implementing it
1:35PM ( 1 hour ago )
Montana's Health Co-op remains standing as others falter
Montana's health care co-op resumes accepting new enrollees on Sunday after it voluntarily pulled itself from the state's insurance marketplace in December
11:01AM ( 3 hours ago )
Sold-out birthday bash for 90-year-old Louisiana ex-governor
Louisiana's four-term former governor Edwin Edwards is having an ostentatious 90th birthday bash, with a $250-per-person price tag to attend
10:44AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
35 children die in north Indian hospital in 3 days
Parents of at least 35 children who have died in a state-run hospital in northern India over the past three days have alleged that the fatalities were due to the lack of a sufficient oxygen supply in the children's ward
12:44PM ( 1 hour ago )
Merkel emphasizes German prosperity, security at rally
German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the final phase of her election campaign by emphasizing the growth in economic security and prosperity achieved in her dozen years at the helm
9:59AM ( 4 hours ago )
Louisville appeals 'draconian' NCAA penalties in escort case
Louisville appeal calls NCAA sanctions 'draconian' for sex scandal in men's basketball program
9:33AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Business
Snap stock hits lowest level since IPO after paltry earnings
Shares of Snap Inc. are down sharply following paltry earnings results
7:06PM ( 19 hours ago )
Sen. Jeff Flake working Arizona as he faces tough 2018 race
Republican Sen. Jeff Flake has spent the first part of the August congressional recess touring the U.S.-Mexico border, visiting a wildfire-scarred town in Arizona and giving a speech to business leaders
6:04PM ( 20 hours ago )
Bills trade Watkins to Rams; get Matthews from Eagles
The Buffalo Bills have shaken up their roster with two separate trades, dealing starting receiver Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams and acquiring Jordan Matthews from Philadelphia
5:38PM ( 21 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
Trump's Venezuela comments pose challenges for Pence
Vice President Mike Pence is heading to Latin America on the heels of yet another provocative statement from the president that he is sure to have to answer for
2:28PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Venezuela rejects Trump talk of 'military option'
Venezuela's government has energetically rejected U.S. President Donald Trump's talk of a potential "military option" to resolve the country's political crisis
2:00PM ( 39 minutes ago )
Virginia city rocked by white nationalist protests; 1 arrest
One person arrested, eight injured after violent classes erupt at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville
1:38PM ( 1 hour ago )
Egypt's Moussa rejects calls to extend presidential terms
The head of the panel that drafted Egypt's 2014 constitution, possibly the most progressive in the country's history, has denounced calls to amend the charter, saying parliament should focus instead on implementing it
1:35PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Eagles come in pairs at PGA Championship
THE LATEST: Playing partners Marc Leishman and Billy Horschel both chipped in for eagle on the par 5 10th hole at Quail Hollow.
1:33PM ( 1 hour ago )