Trump Cautious on China Inquiry Over Intellectual Property Theft

The UN Security Council unanimously adopts a sanctions resolution against North Korea at its headquarters in New York aiming to curb funding sources for Pyongyang's nuclear and missile ambitions

-China trading relationship. But analysts have cautioned that Trump faces a huge challenge in his desire to significantly reduce the US trade deficit with China, which previous year stood at more than $300 billion.

The president has publicly linked the issue of trade fairness with his calls on China to pressure North Korea to drop its weapons program and inflammatory rhetoric. "They know how I feel", he told reporters on Thursday.

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.

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

According to Trump advisors, on Monday, the president plans to sign an executive memorandum, which is a step below an executive order, directing trade officials to investigate China's "acts, policies or practices" that violate worldwide protections for American intellectual property, innovations and technology.

"If China helps us, I feel a lot different toward trade".

China has said that trade between China and the United States benefits both sides and that Beijing is willing to work with Washington to improve their trade relationship.

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. But trade and national security experts widely noted that the trade announcement appeared to have been delayed until after China joined the United States in voting for sanction against North Korea at a United Nations Security Council session on August 5. "They should not be forced to turn over the fruits of their labor". It was unclear whether the issue of trade came up.

Like the president, Lighthizer has criticized multilateral venues like the World Trade Organization for failing to provide adequate tools to address China's economic violations.

Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 allows the president to unilaterally impose tariffs or other trade restrictions to protect U.S. industries from "unfair trade practices" of foreign countries, such as trade agreement violations, or "discriminatory" actions that burden U.S. commerce. Though widely used worldwide, the WTO process is viewed unfavorably by the Trump administration. The technology sector has been especially hard hit in IP disputes.

Kennedy of CSIS says business leaders express a range of opinions, depending on how much they discrimination they face in China and how key Chinese profits are to their business.

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.

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