Washington launches probe on Beijing's intellectual property practices

China brands US ‘irresponsible’ over trade investigation

The United States will investigate China's policies and practices related to technology transfer, IP and innovation to determine if the behavior is "unreasonable or discriminatory" or restricts US commerce, Lighthizer said Friday in a statement.

"We will safeguard the copyrights, patents, trademarks, trade secrets and other intellectual property that is so vital to our security and to our prosperity", he said.

Section 301, once heavily used in the 1980s and the early 1990s, allows the USA president to unilaterally impose tariffs or other trade restrictions against foreign countries. The US media predicted that the USTR investigation would continue for about one year. The provision gives the president broad authority to impose tariffs on foreign goods, though such unilateral action has rarely been used since the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1995, according to trade experts.

China sees the use of Section 301 as an act of aggression because it allows the president of the United States to act against the Chinese economy without consulting the World Trade Organisation. The Trump administration's move comes as it has accused Beijing of not doing enough to rein in North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

"If China helps us, I will feel a lot differently toward trade", he said.

The probe has been launched under the Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. That may sound like a bunch of jargon, but what it boils down to is that the United States just fired the first shot in a trade war with China.

America, he added, will no longer tolerate Beijing's "theft" of U.S. industrial secrets. He recommended pursuing a trade investigation of Beijing's technology policies and anti-dumping action over Chinese exports of steel and aluminum. China had made efforts for IPR protection in recent years in the administrative and judicial aspects and produced positive results through enhancing worldwide cooperation and exchanges and China hoped that the USTR would act prudently by paying attention to these objective facts, Xinhua said. So if the two sides cooperate with each other, it will benefit both sides.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a statement last Tuesday that it "will resort to all proper measures" to defend its rights.

"Economic relationships between China and the USA have become too strong and complicated to disintegrate".

"Fighting a trade war has no future".

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