Date
19 September 2017
A map of China is seen through a magnifying glass on a computer screen showing binary digits in this file illustration. Photo: Reuters
A map of China is seen through a magnifying glass on a computer screen showing binary digits in this file illustration. Photo: Reuters

US panel backs tougher trade powers on cyberspying

Congress should consider options to punish cyberspying and theft of trade secrets from United States companies, according to a bipartisan panel.

US trade officials should tell lawmakers whether they have the power to sanction companies that benefit from stealing trade secrets.

If no such authority exists, they should propose measures to address the problem, Reuters reported Friday, citing the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said in its annual report to Congress.

The commission is a bipartisan advisory body that monitors economic and security relations between the US and China.

In May, the US accused five Chinese military officers of hacking into American companies to steal trade secrets.

Prosecutors said the suspects targeted companies including Alcoa Inc, Allegheny Technologies Inc., United States Steel Corp., Toshiba Corp. unit Westinghouse Electric Co. and the US arm of solar manufacturer SolarWorld A.G. , some of which had filed unfair trade claims against Chinese rivals.

The leaders of the commission said hacking from China was continuing. “It remains unabated,” commission chairman William Shea told a news conference.

There were actions companies could take, such as setting up fake information accounts to divert hackers’ attention, but for most the benefits of doing business in China outweighed the cost of hacking, he said.

The report said Chinese companies benefited from a host of unfair trade practices, including subsidies and limits on foreign investment, that violated at least the spirit of Beijing’s World Trade Organization commitments and contributed indirectly to a loss of US manufacturing jobs.

The commission also pointed out a worrying increase in U.S. imports of pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical ingredients from China, given the prevalence of “fake and substandard” drugs.

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FL/RA

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