Intellectual property: Trump orders investigation into China’s policies and practices


Intellectual property: Trump orders investigation into China’s policies and practices

United States has formally launched an investigation into China’s policies regarding intellectual property. The top US trade official, Robert Lighthizer, said his office had “determined that these critical issues merit a thorough investigation”.

The move was expected after President Donald Trump asked Lighthizer to review China’s practices. China has voiced “serious concern” over the inquiry, which could result in US trade sanctions.

The US has been concerned about these matters for some time, said Gary Hufbauer, from the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

The annual cost to the US economy from counterfeit goods, pirated software and theft of trade secrets has been estimated at up to US$600bn.

On Friday the US said it planned to look into hacking and reports that the Chinese government is steering investment into US companies in key industries as a way to gain access to new technology. Officials will gather comments and hold a hearing in October as part of the so-called Section 301 investigation.

Gary Hufbauer said it’s a “foregone conclusion” that the US will find evidence of unfair practices, but it’s not clear how the Trump administration will proceed after that.

It could bring a complaint to the World Trade Organization, or decide to take action unilaterally, which would be faster. Penalties might be targeted against individual companies, or more wide-ranging, he added, which will shape China’s reaction.

China’s commerce ministry warned that: “If the US side takes actions that impair the mutual trade relations, disregarding the facts and disrespecting multilateral trade rules, China will not sit idle”.

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  1. China’s production of counterfeit goods is only half of the problem. The other half is the merchandising of those goods.

    Why not stage federal raids on Amazon’s warehouses (and the warehouses of other mass marketers), with follow-up enforcement of existing domestic anti-counterfeit statutes? Why not ramp up the inspection of imports from China, with appropriate legal action taken against importers who violate US laws?

    In other words, instead of initiating a tit-for-tat trade dispute with China, with China’s charge that the US is interfering in China’s internal affairs, we should “interfere” with our own internal affairs!

    • Interfere with “your” own internal affairs would mean you have to point your own finger to your own American nose which unfortunately never smells a scent of double citizens who cash in on counterfeit goods trading and American politics. It is all China’s fault sounds a lot more like American patriotism.
      You are the good guys remember, Martin Maloney!

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