United States probes China's copyright rules

According to Trump advisors, on Monday, the president plans to sign an executive memorandum, which is a step below an executive order, directing trade officials to investigate China's "acts, policies or practices" that violate global protections for American intellectual property, innovations and technology.

A 2013 report by a commission co-chaired by Jon Huntsman, ambassador to China under President Barack Obama and Trump's nominee to be Russian envoy, pegged the losses from United States intellectual property theft at hundreds of billions of dollars annually that cost the USA economy millions of jobs.

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke by phone on Friday night.

Such thefts not only damage American companies, but also pose a threat to the United States national security, the second official said.

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.

"We would like to emphasize that the Chinese government has always attached importance to intellectual property protection", a spokesman said.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has also urged US authorities to abide by WTO rules in its trade measures and resolve differences with China through dialogue and consultation.

In the teleconference with reporters, administration officials said the North Korean issue and the trade investigation are "totally unrelated".

The US Federal Trade Commission warned Congress about China's IP protection practices previous year, after determining that efforts to advise Beijing to avoid opaque procedures with respect to its antitrust regulations had largely failed. "They know how I feel", Trump told reporters on Thursday.

Trump will make a day trip to Washington, D.C., on Monday, briefly interrupting his 17-day August working vacation, a White House official said on Friday. "Numerous concerns about IP-related antitrust enforcement have been focused on China", the FTC statement said.

United States probes China's copyright rules

President Donald Trump is set to sign an executive order to probe China's "unfair" trade practices that harm American businesses and have an impact on its intellectual properties, a senior official said.

Trump, in the past, has tied trade policy to national security.

It was not immediately clear whether his trade dispute with Beijing would be the subject.

"China's agencies are pursuing non-competition objectives through competition enforcement to promote either certain industries or particular Chinese competitors", the FTC said in a prepared statement to a subcommittee of the US House of Representatives in June 2016.

Since the World Trade Organization (WTO) was established in 1995, the US has not imposed any trade investigations or sanctions based on Section 301 because that kind of unilateral action violates WTO rules requiring trade disputes among its members to be addressed on the WTO platform.

There are "a wide variety of potential responses".

Any investigation could take as long as a year once it is formally launched, and will likely include a public comment period and a hearing, the official said. "There could be tariffs, there could be some sort of negotiated settlement, there could be a number of other things that are out there - and, obviously, we haven't made any decision on that at this point", a third administration official said.

Depending on the results, the United States could either seek remedies through the World Trade Organization or outside of it.

The forced sharing of intellectual property with Chinese firms has been a long-standing concern of the USA business community. -China Economic and Security Review Commission, called the measure "a critical action, and long overdue".

Vanessa Coleman

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