As per officials within the Administration, the theft of U.S. IP is at least $600 million, if not more.
Following up on a call by U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this week to determine whether a probe was required into China’s alleged theft of U.S. intellectual property, on Friday the United States formally launched an investigation into this alleged theft.
This is the first direct measure taken by the Trump Administration against China’s trade practices which U.S. businesses and the White House say are hurting American industry.
“After consulting with stakeholders and other government agencies, I have determined that these critical issues merit a thorough investigation,” said Robert Lighthizer, the top trade negotiator for the U.S. in a statement.
The move is the first significant action taken by Trump having repeatedly trashed Chinese trade practices during his election campaign.
According to officials within the Administration the theft of U.S. intellectual property by China is at least $600 million.
The investigation is likely to prod China to correct its trade policies and is likely to complicate U.S.-China relations given that it is the United States’ biggest trading partner.
The Trump administration has also been pushing China to take steps against its ally North Korea to curb its nuclear missile programs.