U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has been keeping busy. During the opening round of negotiations to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), he represented the U.S. and President Donald Trump.
Now, he’s being ordered by the president to investigate whether China is demanding U.S. companies to divulge trade secrets to trade in the Chinese market.
On Monday, Trump signed an executive action asking the trade office to explore a possible investigation into China for the alleged theft of American technology and intellectual property.
“The theft of intellectual property by foreign countries cost our nation millions of jobs and billions of dollars each and every year,” said President Trump. “For too long, this wealth has been drained from our country while Washington has done nothing—they never have done anything about it. Washington will turn a blind eye no longer.”
Trump wants Lighthizer to dig into Chinese practices that force American companies to share their intellectual property in order to gain access to the world’s second-largest economy.