The president took the first step in implementing tariffs on Chinese imports. Meanwhile, tech giant Apple is helping the country crack down on free speech.
At a signing ceremony at the White House on Monday, President Trump directed the U.S. Trade Representative to “determine whether an investigation is needed into alleged unfair Chinese trade practices.”
The move represents the first step in a process that could allow Trump to impose tariffs on Chinese imports or other punishing trade actions.
The new order focuses specifically on alleged Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property, a complaint expressed by a wide array of U.S. corporations that do business in China.
China is accused of trying to take a short cut by spying, hacking or forcing companies to hand over their intellectual property, such as a patent on a software product.
It’s a promise kept by Trump from the campaign trail. Then-candidate Trump repeatedly used China as an example of a country that hurts the American economy through unfair business practices.
Apparently unbothered by those practices, or the far worse human rights abuses, is tech giant Apple, who moved nearly all of their production from the U.S. to China in the last 15 years.
In fact, Apple acceded to China’s demands that it remove virtual private network (VPN) services from its app store in an effort to crack down on internet access for its citizens. China is a known human rights abuser who limits information, particularly of an unflattering nature about the Asian country.
With Trump standing up to China on behalf of the American worker, the question is, when will Apple do the same?
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