Trump considering intellectual property ‘fine’ on China

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WASHINGTON: United States President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the US is considering a big "fine" as part of a probe into China's alleged theft of intellectual property, the clearest indication yet that his administration will take retaliatory trade action against China.

Mr Trump and his economic adviser Gary Cohn said China had forced US companies to transfer their intellectual property to China as a cost of doing business there.


The US has started a trade investigation into the issue, and Mr Cohn said the US Trade Representative will be making recommendations about it soon.

"We have a very big intellectual property potential fine going, which is going to come out soon," Mr Trump said.

While he did not specify what he meant by a "fine" against China, the 1974 trade law that authorised an investigation into China's alleged theft of US intellectual property allows Mr Trump to impose retaliatory tariffs on Chinese goods or other trade sanctions until China changes its policies.

Mr Trump said the damages could be high, without elaborating on how the numbers were reached or how the costs would be imposed.

"We are talking about big damages. We are talking about numbers that you have not even thought about," Mr Trump said.

He said he wanted the US to have a good relationship with China, but Beijing needs to treat the US fairly.

Mr Trump said he would be announcing some kind of action against China and would discuss the issue during his State of the Union address to the US Congress on Jan 30. - REUTERS