Trump orders probe of China's intellectual property rules

Tammy Harvey
August 14, 2017

Fearing that Taiwan could be hit by retaliatory actions by Washington if it finds forced technology transfers or intellectual property theft by China, Bureau of Foreign Trade Director-General Yang Jen-ni (楊珍妮) said Sunday the agency will carefully assess the situation as soon as U.S. President Donald Trump orders the probe.

If Trump announces the investigation, it would come at a time Trump and members of his administration have called on China to do more to rein in North Korea amid recent intercontinental ballistic missile tests.

Yet the two leaders did not discuss this latest action in a phone conversation Friday night, and officials told reporters on Saturday that addressing intellectual property theft has been on their agenda since the president took office.

A possible move by the United States to launch an investigation into China's unfair trade practices based on Section 301 of the Trade Act has Taiwan anxious because many of its products sold to the US are processed or assembled in China.

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.

While there's no evidence that the Trump administration is willing to engage constructively with the WTO, Bown recommends the United States and China resolving their trade disputes through the Geneva-based worldwide trade body.

"These are two different things", the official said, speaking to reporters on a conference call.

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.


The executive memorandum will also target trade-secret theft, which costs the USA economy as much as $600 billion a year, the second administration official said.

Next week the United States is scheduled to embark on its first round of renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

They added, "If Americans continue to have their best technologies and intellectual property stolen or forcibly transferred off-shore, the United States will find it hard to maintain its current technology leadership position". -China Economic and Security Review Commission, a watchdog group established by Congress. Though they are largely missing out on the giant consumer market, they also fear their technologies being stolen.

Mr. Trump will direct U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to determine if an investigation is warranted of "any of China's laws, policies, practices or actions that may be unreasonable or discriminatory, and that may be harming American intellectual property, innovation and technology", the official said.

Chinese commercial policy aimed to acquire and absorb the intellectual property of the United States and other countries around the world, according to the officials.

The results of three separate investigations into trade deficits and the national security threats posed by imports of steel and aluminum, initially expected by the end of June, have yet to appear.

Used frequently during the Reagan administration in the 1980s, the law allows the USA president to impose tariffs and other measures to force open export markets.

Apple, which has a turnover of more than $30 billion a year in China, is now subject to several measures taken by Beijing that hinder its activities in the country. However, the US pledged in the mid-1990s to settle disputes through the World Trade Organization dispute settlement system rather than by taking unilateral action. That initiative sets forth a long-term plan for China's dominance in a wide variety of high-tech industries, including electric vehicles, advanced medical products and robotics.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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