Date
23 October 2017
Penny Pritzker says it's not enough that China is promoting an innovation economy which indicates a genuine desire to protect IP. Photo: Reuters
Penny Pritzker says it's not enough that China is promoting an innovation economy which indicates a genuine desire to protect IP. Photo: Reuters

US warns China over ‘weak’ intellectual property regime

United States Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker is warning China that weak intellectual property (IP) protections and selective application of the law are hampering foreign investment in the country.

Pritzker said this is happening in spite of a push by Beijing to reassure investors that their technology is safe, the Financial Times reported Thursday.

It’s not enough that China is promoting an innovation economy which indicates a genuine desire to protect IP, she said

“The real conversation needs to be not just about the laws on the books but also about the court system and the broad and consistent application of these rules.”

IP theft has been a perennial grievance of international companies in China.

In recent years Beijing has moved to reassure investors but critics say violations of rules are still rife.

Last week. Premier Li Keqiang received Pritzker and a delegation of US clean tech companies seeking a windfall from China’s drive to reduce pollution, where he highlighted China’s plans to set up a new IP tribunal.

Meanwhile, lawyers in China say foreign companies are already increasingly willing to turn to the country’s arbitration courts, particularly in Shanghai and the Yangtze valley, where they say courts are becoming more professional.

But Pritzker said that doubts over fair treatment in the country’s legal system acted as a barrier to foreign companies, which did not want to risk committing their best technology to the Chinese market.

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RC/RA

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