Beijing: China warned on Monday that nobody would win in a “trade war” with the United States as President Donald Trump prepared to launch an investigation into Chinese intellectual property practices.
Trump was due on Monday to sign a memorandum directing US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to determine whether any Chinese laws, policies or practices discriminate against or harm American innovators and technology companies.
The investigation could lead to sanctions against Beijing. Asked about the US move, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said any member of the World Trade Organisation must respect WTO rules. “Fighting a trade war has no future. There will be no winner and everybody will lose,” Hua said at a regular news briefing.
“I believe China and the US should continue to work together for the stable and sound development of China-US economic and trade relations,” she said.
“Considering the importance of the China-US relations, China is willing to make joint efforts with the United States to keep trade and economic relations on sustained, healthy and stable development on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit,” Hua said.
Earlier Monday, a state newspaper, the China Daily, said Trump’s possible decision to launch an investigation could “intensify tensions,” especially over intellectual property.
A decision to use the law to rebalance trade with China “could trigger a trade war,” said the commentary under the name of researcher Mei Xinyu of the ministry’s International Trade and Economic Cooperation Institute.
“And the inquiry the US administration has ordered into China’s trade policies, if carried out, could intensify tensions, especially on intellectual property rights,” the commentary said.
It gave no indication of how Beijing might respond but Chinese law gives regulators broad discretion over what foreign companies can do in China.
US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, bluntly accused China on Saturday of “stealing our intellectual property” — long a concern of Western companies seeking a share of the enormous Chinese market.
The looming investigation follows high tensions between Washington and Beijing. Trump has accused China of failing to rein in the nuclear ambitions of its ally North Korea.