Date
15 December 2018
China has failed to take any substantive actions to address US concerns on intellectual property and technology transfer policies, the USTR says. Photo: Reuters
China has failed to take any substantive actions to address US concerns on intellectual property and technology transfer policies, the USTR says. Photo: Reuters

China has failed to alter unfair trade practices: USTR

China has failed to alter its “unfair” practices at the heart of the US-China trade conflict, the United States Trade Representative said in an update of its probe into Chinese policies.

USTR Robert Lighthizer said in a statement Tuesday that his agency completed an update of its “Section 301” investigation into China’s intellectual property and technology transfer policies as part of the Trump administration’s strengthened monitoring and enforcement effort, Reuters reports.

“This update shows that China has not fundamentally altered its unfair, unreasonable, and market-distorting practices that were the subject of the March 2018 report on our Section 301 investigation,” he was quoted as saying.

In the update, USTR said it had found that China had not responded “constructively” to the initial section 301 reports and failed to take any substantive actions to address US concerns. It added that China had made clear it would not change its policies in response to the initial investigation.

USTR alleged that China is continuing its policy and practice of conducting and supporting cyber-enabled theft of US intellectual property, and that Beijing is keeping discriminatory technology licensing restrictions in place.

Despite the relaxation of some foreign ownership rules, “the Chinese government has persisted in using foreign investment restrictions to require or pressure the transfer of technology from US companies to Chinese entities,” the agency said.

The USTR report is likely to add to tensions ahead of a high-stakes meeting later this month between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Reuters noted.

The Section 301 investigation into China’s intellectual property and technology transfer policies had sparked US tariffs on US$50 billion worth of Chinese goods that later ballooned to US$250 billion.

US Vice President Mike Pence said last Saturday that Washington will not back down from the trade dispute, and might even double tariffs, unless Beijing bows to US demands.

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RC

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