Trump Cautious on China Inquiry Over Intellectual Property Theft

President Trump is planning to jab, not punch, China for allegedly stealing intellectual property from American businesses, part of an effort to fulfill his hard-edge campaign promises on trade without alienating Beijing during the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

Mr. Trump will return to Washington from his working vacation at his Bedminster, N.J., golf resort on Monday to sign an executive memo asking the United States Trade Representative to determine whether to investigate state-backed theft by China of intellectual property from American technology and defense companies.

The request for an investigation will focus on Beijing’s practices of coercing American companies doing business in China to partner with local firms, which require them to turn over proprietary technological secrets as part of what American officials described as a coordinated effort to steal intellectual property.

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