Lighthizer says China intellectual property probe a high priority

FILE PHOTO: Robert Lighthizer speaks after he was sworn as U.S. Trade Representative during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, U.S. in this file photo dated May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Monday that a probe on whether to launch an investigation into China’s intellectual property practices will be one of his office’s “highest priorities.”

Lighthizer said in a statement that China’s industrial policies and other practices “reportedly” have forced the transfer of vital U.S. technology to Chinese companies.

“We will engage in a thorough investigation and, if needed, take action to preserve the future of U.S. industry,” Lighthizer said. “Thousands of jobs are at stake for our workers and for future generations.”

Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Leslie Adler