Trump opens door to investigating China's "theft" of U.S. intellectual property

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Trump's threat to investigate China's intellectual property and trade practices is valid, but his administration might not be up to the delicate task of carrying out a new China probe without sparking a damaging trade war, USA business lobbyists said last week. "If China helps us, I feel a lot different toward trade".

An op-ed in state-owned newspaper the Global Times said Friday that China should make it clear it will "stay neutral" if the North launches missiles that threaten American soil, even if the US retaliates. "Maybe it wasn't tough enough", Trump told reporters.

China, North Korea's most important ally and trading partner, has reiterated calls for calm during the current crisis.

An official continued on to say that there is more than $600 billion of intellectual property theft against US companies with China responsible for a huge portion of that.

Trump's call with Xi and his potential plans to open the broad trade investigation come against the backdrop of rising tensions over North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

President Trump on Monday will direct U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to determine whether to initiate a Section 301 investigation into China's intellectual property practices, according to senior administration officials.

Friday morning, Trump tweeted that USA military solutions were "locked and loaded" in case North Korea followed through on its threat.

When reports of the potential trade investigation first emerged more than a week ago, China's Commerce Ministry stressed the importance of U.S. They added that the trade measure would be carried out under the rules of global law and would not trigger greater conflict with China. "It's not going to continue like that", Trump said from his golf club in Bedminster, N.J.

And then on Thursday, when speaking with reporters, Trump said in relation to North Korea, "if China helps us, I feel a lot differently toward trade".

The United States has previously complained at the WTO about Chinese trade policies, including its "Made in China 2025" initiative, which seeks to have Chinese-made materials account for 70 percent of manufacturing inputs within the next eight years.

The administration has been eyeing other moves to rebalance the U.S.

"Protection measures against some specific items, such as steel and aluminum, may gain political favors, but are not likely to be of much help to rebalance trade", economists at the Institute of International Finance wrote in a research note this week.

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