U.S. formally initiates investigation of China's intellectual property practices

Posted August 20, 2017

The USTR issued a statement "The investigation will seek to determine whether acts, policies, and practices of the Government of China related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation are unreasonable or discriminatory and burden or restrict US commerce".

"We will safeguard the copyrights, patents, trademarks, trade secrets and other intellectual property that is so vital to our security and to our prosperity", he said.

Lighthizer's decision to officially launch the investigation after collecting opinions from various circles signaled that a trade war began between the USA and China on a full scale.

In response, Lighthizer said he would make the inquiry "one of USTR's highest priorities".

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Senior administration officials told reporters last week that the United States would first consult with China if Lighthizer made a decision to go ahead with an investigation, and the investigation process could take as long as a year. The US Trade Law allows the US government to impose sanctions on countries that built trade barriers such as ramping up import tariffs.

"If China helps us, I will feel a lot differently toward trade", he said. China has been a member of the WTO since 2001.

"If the Trump administration continues to link North Korea's nuclear weapon and missile development issues with trade, it will make the situation more complicated", the newspaper warned. The USTR has argued in the past that Beijing uses a range of practices to force US companies to transfer IP, such as by granting regulatory approvals to drug makers that shift production to China or requiring that the designs of foreign products be replicable in China.

China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reported on August 19 carried the USTR's investigation into infringements on intellectual property rights as the main news, worrying that the unilateral action by the administration could harm China-US trade relations.

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"We urge the USA side to respect the facts and act prudently". So if the two sides cooperate with each other, it will benefit both sides. "If US ignores the facts and disrespects multilateral trade rules, thus jeopardizing the two nations' trading ties, China will not sit on its hands and will take all appropriate measures to protect its own legitimate rights", said a spokesperson for China's Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday.

"Economic relationships between China and the United States have become too strong and complicated to disintegrate".

"There is no victor in a trade war", Hua said at a regular news briefing.

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