Trump set to launch first major trade action targeted at China

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Drumboy44
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Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:19 pm

Donald Trump is set to launch his first major trade action targeted at China on Monday by ordering his top trade negotiator to begin an investigation into intellectual property rules that Beijing uses to force foreign investors to turn over valuable technologies. 

The move, which comes as the US continues to push China to do more to pressure neighbouring North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme, marks a significant turn in the Trump administration’s approach to China and is bound to increase trade tension between the world’s two largest economies.

It is also likely to win backing from Congress and a large swath of the US business community that has long complained about Chinese IP rules. 

The US president will sign an executive memorandum requesting Robert Lighthizer, his trade representative, consider using a 1974 statute employed rarely since the 1990s creation of the World Trade Organization. The law would allow the president to eventually unilaterally impose tariffs and other trade penalties against China over its IP practices. 

The move is a far cry from the broad 45 per cent tariffs that Mr Trump threatened to impose on China during last year’s presidential campaign. But it signals a tougher approach, with Mr Lighthizer, who served in the Reagan administration, being one of a number of China hawks in Mr Trump’s cabinet.

https://www.ft.com/content/0e57be1c-7f8 ... b2513cb3ff

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