China: Trump trade probe violates international rules

China: Trump trade probe violates international rules
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President Trump's order to investigate trade practices in China violates international commitments made by the World Trade Organization (WTO), China says.

China's Ministry of Commerce said Tuesday that Trump's move to investigate whether Beijing requires companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to Chinese markets violates the spirit of international trade, and it pledged to “resolutely safeguard” Chinese trade interests, The Associated Press reported.

“If the U.S. side disregards the fact it does not respect multilateral trade rules and takes action to damage the economic and trade relations between the two sides, then the Chinese side will never sit back and will take all appropriate measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese side,” read a statement from the ministry.

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According to the AP, 20 percent of American companies surveyed by U.S. business groups said that they had been asked by Chinese authorities to transfer technology to partners who may become competitors in the future in exchange for access to China's markets.

A spokesman for the US-China Business Council told the AP that they supported Trump's move.

“We don’t believe market access should be contingent on transferring technology,” said Jake Parker, the council's vice president for China operations. “It goes counter to China’s WTO commitments.”

Earlier this month, Trump said that China was making "hundreds of billions" of dollars in trade while doing nothing to solve the crisis in North Korea.

"I am very disappointed in China," Trump tweeted in August. "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. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!”