China faces US sanc­tions over ‘dis­crim­i­na­tory’ rules

New Straits Times - - Business / World -

WASH­ING­TON: Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump will sign a mem­o­ran­dum to­day that could lead to sanc­tions against China over its in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty prac­tices, said ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials on Satur­day.

Trump would di­rect Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Robert Lighthizer to de­ter­mine whether any Chi­nese laws, poli­cies or prac­tices dis­crim­i­nated against or harm Amer­i­can in­no­va­tors and tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies, said the of­fi­cials.

If so, Lighthizer would have “broad pow­ers” to seek re­me­dial ac­tion.

The of­fi­cials bluntly ac­cused China of “steal­ing our in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty” — long a con­cern of West­ern com­pa­nies seek­ing a share of the enor­mous Chi­nese mar­ket.

The new mea­sure comes amid high ten­sions be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Bei­jing. Trump has ac­cused China of fail­ing to rein in the nu­clear am­bi­tions of its ally North Korea, even as he makes ever sharper threats against Py­ongyang.

The process Lighthizer will ini­ti­ate, un­der Ar­ti­cle 302b of the United States Com­mer­cial Code, could take as long as a year to yield its find­ings.

The lat­est step fol­lows the open­ing by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion of other in­ves­ti­ga­tions into Chi­nese com­mer­cial prac­tices, no­tably in the steel sec­tor.

Last Tues­day, Wash­ing­ton an­nounced pre­lim­i­nary sanc­tions against im­ports of Chi­nese alu­minium foil.

The US of­fi­cials said “Chi­nese com­mer­cial pol­icy has a ma­jor goal, the ac­qui­si­tion and the ab­sorp­tion of the in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty of the US and other coun­tries around the world”.

“Most Amer­i­cans are fully aware that China is steal­ing our in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty,” they added. “What they may not know is that China is also forc­ing and co­erc­ing Amer­i­can com­pa­nies that op­er­ate in China to turn over their tech­nolo­gies.”

US of­fi­cials will par­tic­u­larly ex­am­ine the role of joint ven­tures, the mixed for­eign-and-Chi­nese com­pa­nies whose es­tab­lish­ment is re­quired for any out­side busi­ness wish­ing to sell its prod­ucts in China.

“China also funds and fa­cil­i­tates the ac­qui­si­tion of US firms that pos­sess ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies,” said the of­fi­cials.

“If Amer­i­cans con­tinue to have their best tech­nolo­gies and in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty stolen or forcibly trans­ferred off-shore, the US will find it dif­fi­cult to main­tain its cur­rent tech­nol­ogy lead­er­ship po­si­tion,” they added. AFP

BLOOMBERG PIC

The United States has bluntly ac­cused China of steal­ing in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty, long a con­cern of West­ern com­pa­nies seek­ing a share of the enor­mous Chi­nese mar­ket.

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