Beijing will take “all appropriate measures” to defend its interests if the United States damages trade ties, China said on Tuesday, reacting to news that the Trump administration has authorized an inquiry into China’s alleged theft of intellectual property (IP).
“If the US side ignores the facts, and disrespects multilateral trade principles in taking actions that harms both sides trade interests, China will absolutely not sit by and watch, will inevitably adopt all appropriate measures, and resolutely safeguard China’s lawful rights,” the Chinese commerce ministry said in a statement.
Washington should “treasure” the cooperation and favorable state of China-US trade relations, the ministry said, warning that any US action to damage ties would “harm both sides trade relations and companies”, Reuters reports.
China is continuously strengthening its administrative and judicial protections for IP, the ministry added.
The statement came after US President Donald Trump on Monday authorized an inquiry into China’s IP practices.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will have a year to look into whether to launch a formal investigation of China’s policies on IP, which the White House and US industry groups say are harming American businesses and jobs.
China’s policy of forcing foreign firms to turn over technology to Chinese joint venture partners and failure to crack down on IP theft have been longstanding problems for several US administrations, Reuters noted.
Trump administration officials have estimated that theft of IP by China could be worth as much as US$600 billion.
China has repeatedly rebuffed attempts by previous US administrations to take action on its IP practices, and has insisted it rigorously protects intellectual property.
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