21 August 2017

China brands US ‘irresponsible’ over trade investigation

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has insisted China will take “all appropriate measures” to safeguard its rights and interests amid a US probe into allegations of IP theft.

Released earlier today, August 21, a statement said that the US has “ignored the rules” of the World Trade Organization and is “irresponsible” to have initiated a trade investigation into the country.

China urged the US to “respect the facts and respect the strong desire of the industry to strengthen cooperation”.

As reported by WIPR last week, President Donald Trump signed a memorandum asking the US trade representative Robert Lighthizer to assess whether an investigation into Chinese IP theft is necessary.

“We will combat the counterfeiting and piracy that destroys American jobs; we will enforce the rules of fair and reciprocal trade that formed the foundation of responsible commerce,” he stated at the time.

On Friday, August 18, Lighthizer  (PDF) confirmed that he will launch the investigation into Chinese IP theft.

According to the White House, IP theft costs the US economy $600 million annually with China responsible for 50-80% of that figure.

The investigation will take up to a year to complete, and could see trade bans or tariffs imposed on Chinese imports.

China’s statement earlier made reference to last month’s meeting between Trump and the Chinese President Xi Jinping.

It said the two countries “have made a smooth and constructive communication and consultation on bilateral economic and trade issues” since the “successful” meeting, and labelled the US irresponsible for launching an investigation at this time.

“China believes that the US side should work together with China to solidify the one-year plan for economic cooperation and strive for greater success.”

It added: “China will pay close attention to the progress of the investigation and will take all appropriate measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese side.”

As  reported by WIPR earlier this month, several sources had stated to national newspapers that Trump was set to launch an investigation into alleged Chinese IP theft. Allegations include that the Chinese government has demanded American companies cut the licensing fees that they charge for key patents and insisted companies set up joint ventures to do business in China.

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