The Trump administration is considering its first big trade action against Beijing, with officials engaged in “serious discussions” about launching a probe into a Chinese intellectual property regime that requires foreign companies to transfer technology to local subsidiaries and partners, the Financial Times reports. The move, described by people with knowledge of the discussions, would target one of the big concerns expressed by US, European and other businesses operating in China. It also would mark a shift in tone for the administration, which despite Donald Trump’s campaign vitriol against China has spent most of this year adopting a more cautious line and trying to convince Beijing to apply more pressure on North Korea. Under the plans being discussed – first reported by US news service Axios – the administration is considering “self-initiating” a trade case under a 1974 statute that has not been employed widely since the 1995 creation of the World Trade Organization.
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