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Trump set to take on China by launching fair trade probe

Trump set to take on China by launching fair trade probe

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 USA companies' intellectual property, which broadly includes technological innovations, film and other artistic products, industrial designs and military secrets.

President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet on the sidelines of the Group of 20 Summit last month in Hamburg.

Several administration officials outlined the highly preliminary trade action to reporters Saturday, suggesting - contrary to Trump's own statements - that trade policy toward China is divorced from any national security concern, including North Korea.

The measure would seek to address what the USA business community has described as flagrant trade violations by China, which employs a variety of rules and practices to wall its market off from foreign competition and pressure US companies to part with valuable product designs and trade secrets - or to steal them outright.

The President will call on his chief trade advisor, Robert Lighthizer, to open an investigation into China's intellectual property practices on Monday.

Yet analysts said the measure could also backfire, resulting in more hostility and tension between the world's two largest economies at a time when their cooperation is critical to a diplomatic resolution on North Korea.

But Trump also told Xi about the move toward a possible inquiry into China's trade practices, according to two US officials familiar with that conversation. They added that the trade measure would be carried out under the rules of global law and would not trigger greater conflict with China.

The forced sharing of intellectual property with Chinese firms has been a long-standing concern of the US business community. "Those activities haven't abated; they've accelerated as China seeks to become self-sufficient in new technologies and dominate world markets", he said.

In a phone call Friday, Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for backing the recent United Nations vote to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea, and the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

The administration is likely eager to make progress on trade, one of Trump's biggest campaign issues, after a recent series of legislative setbacks, trade experts said. It was not immediately clear whether he was talking about trade was the subject.

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.

"We lose hundreds of billions of dollars a year on trade with China". That initiative sets forth a long-term plan for China's dominance in a wide variety of high-tech industries, including electric vehicles, advanced medial products and robotics.

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.