Washington, Aug 15 (IANS) The US President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive memorandum ordering an investigation to determine whether China’s practices with regard to intellectual property are hurting US’ companies.

“We will safeguard the copyrights, patents, trademarks, trade secrets and other intellectual property that is so vital to our security and to our prosperity,” Efe quoted Trump as saying.

Trump, with Treasury Secretary Steven Munchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer by his side, added that “this is just the beginning.”

The decision, which will undoubtedly be scorned by China, comes at a time when Washington is trying to get Beijing to use all its influence to convince North Korea to wind down the current military escalation.

Lighthizer said that for many years the US has faced a “very serious problem” because Chinese industrial policies “have forced the transfer of vital US technology to Chinese companies.”

“We will engage in a thorough investigation and, if needed, take action to preserve the future of the US industry,” he said.

Though in the first months after his arrival in the White House, Trump moderated his criticism of the Asian giant.

He even invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to his Mar-a-Lago golf club in Florida for their first meeting.

But Trump has recently expressed his growing frustration with what he considers “Beijing’s lack of cooperation” with regard to the conflict with North Korea.

China is, after the European Union (UE), the second largest trade partner of the US, which has a large trade deficit with the Asian nation that Trump has vowed to reduce as part of his protectionist agenda, in which he has not dismissed the possibility of applying economic sanctions.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.