President Donald Trump signed a memorandum directing his Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer to investigate China for the theft of intellectual property.
“For too long, this wealth has been drained from our country while Washington has done nothing. They have never done anything about it,” Trump said to reporters at the White House. “But Washington will turn a blind eye no longer.”
Trump said that combatting piracy and theft of information from American companies was long overdue, blaming the political establishment for looking the other way.
He described his actions as a fulfillment of his campaign promises to defend the American worker.
“We will uphold our values, we will defend our workers, and we will protect the innovations, creations, and inventions that power our magnificent country,” he said.
China protested Trump’s actions through the state-run newspaper, denouncing the president’s attempts to blame them for North Korea’s ongoing hostility to America.
“[I]t is impossible to look at the matter without taking into account his increasing disappointment at what he deems as China’s failure to bring into line the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” the editorial read, noting that “exploiting trade as a bargaining chip” would be a “serious mistake.”
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross attended the event as well as Director of Trade and Industrial Policy Peter Navarro, Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Gary Cohn. Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster also attended the event.