WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is preparing a broad move against China over trade, according to people with knowledge of its plans, amid growing worries in the United States over a Chinese government-led effort to make the country a global leader in microchips, electric cars and other crucial technologies of the future.
The move, which could come in the next several days, signals a shift by the administration away from its emphasis on greater cooperation between Washington and Beijing, in part because administration officials have become frustrated by China’s reluctance to confront North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The two sides have also struggled in trade negotiations despite claiming modest progress earlier this year, while American companies have complained they face pressure to share trade secrets with Chinese partners.
The trade case will focus on alleged Chinese violations of American intellectual property, according to three people with a detailed knowledge of the administration’s plans. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the deliberations are not yet public.
China’s policy to become a leading manufacturer by 2025 in the fields of driverless cars, medical devices, semiconductors, artificial intelligence, robotics and many other technologies has caught the attention of Trump administration officials. The policy, known as Made in China 2025, sets goals for China to be a global leader in ten fields of industry with the help of massive infusions of state money and the protection of those industries from American competitors.
At the same time, the Chinese government has demanded that American companies cut the licensing fees that they charge for key patents, and has insisted that companies set up joint ventures to do business in China.
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