Thu, Nov 22, 2018 - Page 10 News List

China has not altered practices: USTR

UPDATE:While China has relaxed some foreign ownership laws, it has continued its practice of intellectual property theft and discriminatory licensing restrictions


US President Donald Trump’s administration on Tuesday said that China has failed to alter its “unfair” practices at the heart of the US-China trade conflict, adding to tensions ahead of a high-stakes meeting later this month between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).

The findings were issued in an update of the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) “Section 301” investigation into China’s intellectual property and technology transfer policies, which sparked US tariffs on US$50 billion of Chinese goods that later ballooned to US$250 billion.

“We completed this update as part of this administration’s strengthened monitoring and enforcement effort,” USTR Robert Lighthizer said in a statement. “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.”

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 said that China was continuing its policy and practice of conducting and supporting cyberenabled theft of US intellectual property and was continuing discriminatory technology licensing restrictions.

The update said that despite the relaxation of some foreign ownership restrictions, “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 Chinese Ministry of Commerce did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang (耿爽) said that China had already offered a detailed response to the US complaints in a government white paper issued in September.

“I recommend the US side read it in detail,” he told a daily news briefing in Beijing.

The essence of China-US trade and economic cooperation is mutual benefit, he added.

“It’s normal for there to be friction in economics and trade. What’s key is to have dialogue and consultations on the basis of mutual respect, equality and sincerity,” Geng said, without elaborating.

The report comes as the Trump administration and top Chinese officials are discussing possible ways out of their trade spat and negotiating details of the Trump-Xi meeting on the sidelines of the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires on Friday and Saturday next week.

However, acrimonious trade rhetoric between the governments of the world’s two largest economies has been increasing in recent days, spilling over into an APEC summit last weekend.

A top Chinese diplomat on Tuesday said that the failure of APEC officials to agree on a communique from the summit was a result of certain countries “excusing” protectionism, a veiled criticism of Washington’s tariffs.

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

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