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Trump to announce trade sanctions against China for intellectual property theft

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The US has accused Beijing of forcing US firms to share their intellectual property with Chinese state-owned companies. The decision is set to escalate global trade tensions.

US President Donald Trump is set to announce new sanctions against China for stealing US intellectual property on Thursday, according to a White House official. The move comes amid heightened fears about a potential trade war over US plans to introduce tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum. 

"Tomorrow the president will announce the actions he has decided to take based on USTRs 301 investigation into Chinas state-led, market-distorting efforts to force, pressure, and steal US technologies and intellectual property." Restrictions could also be placed on apparel and Chinese investments in the United States. After calling on Trump not to act "emotionally," China is expected to impose countermeasures on US agriculture exports. Beijing has accused Washington of "repeatedly abusing" international trade rules set out by the World Trade Organization. 

In 2016, total trade between the United States and China reached $579 billion with Chinese imports of US goods totaling $115.8 billion and US imports of Chinese goods at $462.8 billion. Only the 28-member EU saw more trade with the United States in 2016. Last year the US ran a $375 billion trade deficit with China, though US exports to China also hit a new record high. US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell called the prospect of a trade war a growing threat to the United States. amp/sms (AFP, Reuters)

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