Trump said to call for China intellectual property trade probe on Monday

Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump are set to face off over China’s intellectual property practices. (Reuters)
Updated 13 August 2017
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Trump said to call for China intellectual property trade probe on Monday

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump will call on Monday for his chief trade adviser to investigate China’s intellectual property practices, website Politico reported, citing an unnamed administration official.
Trump had been expected to order a so-called Section 301 investigation under the 1974 Trade Act earlier this month, but action had been postponed as the White House pressed for China’s cooperation in reining in North Korea’s nuclear program.
Politico said it was not clear how much detail Trump would provide in his announcement, but that administration officials expected US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to open a Section 301 probe.
Officials at the White House and US Trade Representative’s office were not immediately available for comment.
Trump has suggested he would go easier on China if it were more forceful in getting North Korea to rein in its nuclear weapons program.
While China joined in a unanimous UN Security Council decision to tighten economic sanctions on Pyongyang over its long-range missile tests, it is not clear whether Trump thinks Beijing is doing enough.
“We lose hundreds of billions of dollars a year on trade with China. They know how I feel,” he told reporters on Thursday. “If China helps us, I feel a lot different toward trade.”
Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke by phone on Friday night. They reiterated their mutual commitment to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, the White House said in a statement.
“President Trump and President Xi agreed North Korea must stop its provocative and escalatory behavior,” the statement said.
The White House said the “relationship between the two presidents is an extremely close one, and will hopefully lead to a peaceful resolution of the North Korea problem.”
Trump will make a day trip to Washington, D.C., on Monday, briefly interrupting his 17-day August working vacation, a White House official said on Friday.
Politico said the investigation would not mean immediate sanctions, but could ultimately lead to steep tariffs on Chinese goods.
In addition to the US, the EU, Japan, Germany and Canada have all expressed concern about China’s behavior on intellectual property theft. The technology sector has been especially hard hit in IP disputes.
Trump’s threat to investigate China’s intellectual property and trade practices is valid, but his administration may not be up to the delicate task of carrying out a new China probe without sparking a damaging trade war, US business lobbyists said last week.


OPEC oil ministers gather to discuss production increase

Updated 19 June 2018
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OPEC oil ministers gather to discuss production increase

  • Analysts expect the group to discuss an increase in production of about 1 million barrels a day
  • The officials were arriving in Vienna ahead of the official meeting Friday

VIENNA: The oil ministers of the OPEC cartel were gathering Tuesday to discuss this week whether to increase production of crude and help limit a rise in global energy prices.
The officials were arriving in Vienna ahead of the official meeting Friday, when they will also confer with Russia, a non-OPEC country that since late 2016 has cooperated with the cartel to limit production.
Analysts expect the group to discuss an increase in production of about 1 million barrels a day, ending the output cut agreed on in 2016.
The cut has since then pushed up the price of crude oil by about 50 percent. The US benchmark in May hit its highest level in three and half years, at $72.35 a barrel.
Upon arriving, the energy minister of the United Arab Emirates, Suhail Al Mazrouei, said: “It’s going to be hopefully a good meeting. We look forward to having this gathering with OPEC and non-OPEC.”
The 14 countries in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries make more money with higher prices, but are mindful of the fact that more expensive crude can encourage a shift to renewable resources and hurt demand.
“Consumers as well as businesses will be hoping that this week’s OPEC meeting succeeds in keeping a lid on prices, and in so doing calling a halt to a period which has seen a steady rise in fuel costs,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK
The rise in the cost of oil has been a key factor in driving up consumer price inflation in major economies like the US and Europe in recent months.
Already US President Donald Trump has called on OPEC to cut production, tweeting in April and again this month that “OPEC is at it again” by allowing oil prices to rise.
Within OPEC, an increase in output will not affect all countries equally. While Saudi Arabia, the cartel’s biggest producer, is seen to be open to a rise in production, other countries cannot afford to do so. Those include Iran and Venezuela, whose industries are stymied either by international sanctions or domestic turmoil. Iran is a fierce regional rival to Saudi Arabia, meaning the OPEC deal could also influence the geopolitics in the Middle East.