U.S. president Donald Trump authorized an inquiry into China's alleged theft of intellectual property, a step that analysts say is aimed at pressuring Beijing into a negotiated settlement to revise its practices. Fred Katayama reports.
U.S. president Donald Trump authorized Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to look into whether to investigate China's trade policies. Two major issues - The U.S. says China forces foreign companies to turn over technology to Chinese joint venture partners. It also doesn't do enough to protect intellectual property theft. The White House says those policies are harming U.S. businesses and jobs. Dr. James Nolte, senior fellow at the World Policy Institute, says a trade war is a possibility. (SOUNDBITE) DR. JAMES NOLTE, SENIOR FELLOW, WORLD POLICY INSTITUTE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It could become kind of a tit-for-tat process, where the U.S. adds sanctions, and the Chinese add counter sanctions, which has often happened in the case of WTO, and it could escalate into a wider conflict involving trade. However, there will also be a strong pushback from a lot of American corporations that depend on foreign trade on their supply chains." Lighthizer's investigation could take up to a year, according to administration officials. Analysts say it could also escalate tensions with Beijing at a time when Washington is asking for its help on North Korea.