United States launches probe over China's intellectual property practices

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Even before assuming office, Trump railed against USA trade policy with China.

"Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk", Trump said in a Twitter message last month.

"China-US trade relations are the foundation of our bilateral relations and mutual reciprocity".

According to the IP Commission report by the National Bureau of Asian Research, the annual cost of IP theft to the USA economy could be as high as $600 billion.

"There is still a long way to go in improving the US-China trade relationship, but this is still a good initial response to predatory Chinese economic policies".

While American consumers have benefited from cheaper Chinese-made goods, the imports have caused massive US trade deficits.

A previous Epoch Times investigative report revealed how the Chinese regime is stealing IP from American companies and universities, and selling the products made with the stolen innovations back to the United States at largely reduced prices.

Asked about any connection between his economic nationalism and white nationalism in the United States, and in particular the racist violence in Charlottesville, Bannon said: "Ethno-nationalism — it's losers".

The U.S. government could have resorted to using World Trade Organization (WTO) rules to deal with the issue. "I notified the President that today I am beginning an investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974".

"The White House is frustrated by the slow pace of the WTO", Scott Kennedy, deputy director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told NTD, a sister media to The Epoch Times. The move is expected to do significant harm to already strained U.S.

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IP theft is a threat to the US economy and its workforce.

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Zurich and the University of California, San Diego, found the US lost 2.4 million jobs from 1999 to 2011 because of Chinese import competition.

Trump directed Lighthizer to initiate the investigation earlier this week, following up on pledges to negotiate a bilateral trade and investment relationship with China that makes it easier for USA companies to tap into the world's second-largest economy.

Beijing has yet to respond to the investigation.

"If a trade war occurs, both sides will be losers", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying pointed out.

USA companies from Zippo, a maker of pocket lighters, to General Motors and Lockheed Martin have faced challenges related to counterfeiting and unauthorised technology transfers in China, which has prompted some industry groups and Washington think tanks to support Trump's investigation.

In the short term, the trade policy trajectory won't change much, said Derek Scissors, a China trade expert at the American Enterprise Institute, a pro-business conservative think tank in Washington.

US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 8, 2017.

Lighthizer's investigation could take up to a year. It demanded foreign companies turn over technology to access China's vast market, and its firms rampantly stole the intellectual property of foreign companies.