Taiwan concerned by U.S. plan for unfair trade probe against China


US senior administration officials have said Trump will sign an administrative memorandum on Monday ordering the Office of the United States Trade Representative to start a Section 301 investigation into China's trade practices, including alleged intellectual property theft.

Reuters cited US senior administration officials as saying on Saturday that President Trump will order his top trade adviser on Monday to determine whether to investigate Chinese trade practices that force USA firms operating in China to turn over intellectual property.

Separately, the Global Times - a state-run tabloid that often expresses nationalist views - reported that the probe could lead to retaliation by Beijing and jeopardize the first fruits of a dialogue that began following the Xi-Trump meeting in April.

"If Americans continue to have their best technology and intellectual property stolen, or forcibly transferred offshore, the United States will find it hard to maintain its current technology-leadership position and to remain one of the world's most innovative economies".

Trump is expected to return to Washington from his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. on Monday to sign the memo.

China is accused of trying to take a short cut by spying, hacking or forcing companies to hand over their intellectual property, such as a patent on a software product. "Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet. they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk".

Trump has said he would be more amenable to going easy on Beijing if it were more aggressive in reining in North Korea.

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China says it will stop importing North Korean coal, iron ore, fish and other goods in September as it implements United Nations sanctions. The officials said this matter, and the trade issue, are not connected.

Beijing fired a pre-emptive strike on Monday, warning "everybody will lose" in the event of a trade war between the world's two largest economies.

The two leaders did agree on a few points announced by the White House Saturday morning, noting, "President Trump and President Xi agreed North Korea must stop its provocative and escalatory behavior". They said that U.S. companies had long suffered because of Chinese intellectual-property violations, and that they expected Congress and the business community to support the measure.

Liu Li-gang, chief China economist at Citigroup Inc.in Hong Kong, said the countries are complementary in many sectors, especially those related to technology. "This is why the President has chosen to act now and to act boldly", one administration official said. "Those activities haven't abated; they've accelerated as China seeks to become self-sufficient in new technologies and dominate world markets", he said.

Trump's approach to trade is being watched closely by the entertainment industry.

But there are some fears at the studio level that a deteriorating USA trade relationship with China could ultimately hinder efforts to expand theatrical releases in the massive market, among other moves.