Donald Trump is set to launch his first major trade action targeted at China on Monday by ordering his top trade negotiator to begin an investigation into intellectual property rules that Beijing uses to force foreign investors to turn over valuable technologies. The move, which comes as the US pushes China to act on North Korea, marks a significant turn in the Trump administration’s approach to China and is bound to increase trade tension between the two countries, according to the Financial Times. It is also likely to win backing from Congress and a large swath of the US business community that has long complained about Chinese IP rules. The US president will sign an executive memorandum requesting Robert Lighthizer, his trade representative, consider using a 1974 statute employed rarely since the 1990s creation of the World Trade Organization. The law would allow the president to eventually unilaterally impose tariffs and other trade penalties against China over its IP practices.
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