China faces US sanctions over ‘discriminatory’ rules
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
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.