President Donald Trump will start the beginning steps Monday of a long awaited crackdown on Chinese intellectual property practices, administration officials told reporters Saturday.
The president will issue an executive memorandum that will ask U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to examine whether an investigation under section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 should be opened.
An official continued on to say that there is more than $600 billion of intellectual property theft against U.S. companies with China responsible for a huge portion of that.
The purpose of this memorandum is to ensure American companies and workers are not subject to harmful policies by China in relation to intellectual property and to ensure that America continues to maintain its leadership in technology, an official stated. An investigation by Lighthizer could possibly lead to tariffs against China and action through the World Trade Organization.
The concerns about China’s practices include policies that encourage businesses to share or turn over their technology to joint venture partners, and China’s use of state funds to promote its own intellectual property.
The announcement will come amid rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. President Trump has previously chastised China for not doing enough about the hermit nation, however, an administration official said the move Monday is unrelated to North Korea.
“Trade is trade, national security is national security,” the official stated.
The official, who was speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that he doesn’t believe this will lead to a period of conflict between the U.S. and China, adding, “this is simply business between two countries.”