Beijing yesterday denied US charges that it forces foreign firms to hand technology over to Chinese rivals as the price of entry to its huge market, saying its policies are in line with global rules.
“Countries around the world have taken a lot of measures to encourage technology innovation,” said a commerce ministry official, who declined to be named. “The Chinese policies are in line with relevant WTO rules.”
The comments were in response to a US Chamber of Commerce report this week that accused China of abusing the allure of its vast market to push foreign companies to transfer their latest technologies to Chinese competitors.
This was a “blueprint for technology theft on a scale the world has never seen before,” the report said.
The chamber’s report is the latest in a chorus of complaints by foreign businesses and governments over perceived unfair policies and market restrictions in the world’s third-largest economy.
US Trade Representative Ron Kirk joined the fray on Wednesday, responding to the chamber’s complaints by saying Washington planned to push Beijing on the issue.
“That is going to be one of the top items that we continue to engage China on,” Kirk told reporters in Washington.
China committed at high-level Sino-US talks in May that its innovation policies would be non-discriminatory, protect foreign intellectual property rights (IPR), and ensure open markets and trade, Washington said.
Beijing also pledged to leave the terms and conditions of technology transfer and other proprietary information to individual firms, Kirk’s deputy, Demetrios Marantis, said earlier this month.
China launched its “indigenous innovation” campaign in 2006, officially to encourage the development of domestic technology and reduce its reliance on foreign know-how.
The ministry official said the push did not discriminate against foreign companies and pledged China would protest IPR.
“China will further strengthen IPR protection, including that of foreign companies, exactly because we encourage homegrown innovation,” he said.
Tensions flared after Beijing issued rules late last year under the innovation campaign that were widely seen by foreign businesses as squeezing them out of the government’s multibillion-dollar procurement market.
Concerns over indigenous innovation extended to security encryption rules, domestic patent laws and preferential policies for domestic companies, the chamber report said.
On Wednesday, the chief engineer of the railways ministry rejected suggestions foreign companies participating in development of high-speed rail in the country had been forced to transfer their technology. China’s high-speed trains were based on foreign technology but it had improved the technology to make the trains even faster, he said.
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said during a visit to China last week that European companies were increasingly worried about doing business in China, singling out the technology policy and IPR protections.
Recent surveys by both the European and US chambers of commerce voiced similar concerns, with members saying they were increasingly pessimistic about doing business in China.
SURPRISE GUEST: Media reports identified the visitor as Admiral Michael Studeman, director of the J2, which oversees intelligence at the US military’s Indo-Pacific Command A two-star US Navy admiral overseeing US military intelligence in the Asia-Pacific region has made an unannounced visit to Taiwan, two sources told Reuters on Sunday. The sources, who include a Taiwanese official familiar with the situation, said the official was Rear Admiral Michael Studeman. They were speaking on condition of anonymity. After initially saying on Sunday night that it had no comment about the report, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it welcomed the visit of an “unidentified US official,” but declined to give more details because the trip “has not been made public.” Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) yesterday
AUTUMN STRUGGLE: The KMT and TPP set up stages on the rally’s sidelines, while Want Want boss Tsai Eng-meng said the DPP was curtailing freedom of speech Tens of thousands of people in Taipei yesterday took part in the “Autumn Struggle” (秋鬥) — an annual protest march by labor groups — but with this year’s focus on rejecting the government’s plan to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine residue. “Against poisonous pork, against double standards, against a party-state,” the protesters, mostly wearing black, chanted in front of the rally’s main stage on Ketagalan Boulevard at about noon, before a parade set off at 2pm. Autumn Struggle spokesperson Lee Chien-cheng (李建誠) said this year’s march was divided into three teams, with the first team urging food safety and labor
DEFENSE: The construction of indigenous submarines will be a testament to the nation’s commitment to safeguard its sovereignty, President Tsai Ing-wen said President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday presided over a ceremony to mark the start of construction of the nation’s first indigenous submarine at state-run shipbuilder CSBC Corp’s (台灣國際造船) shipyard in Kaohsiung. “This submarine is an important part of allowing our navy to develop asymmetric warfare and to intimidate and block enemy ships from surrounding Taiwan’s main island,” Tsai said. “With the construction of the submarine to its future commission, we will certainly let the world know our persistence in safeguarding our sovereignty.” Tsai has made boosting the nation’s indigenous defense capacity a central pillar of her defense policy. She recently relaunched the
TIMELINE QUESTIONS: Chen Shih-chung said: ‘If anyone could assure us that we could get the shots in the first quarter of next year, we could set off firecrackers’ Taiwan has secured nearly 15 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported five new imported infections among travelers from Indonesia and the Philippines. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that Taiwan on Monday signed a procurement contract with a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer and paid a deposit to secure 10 million doses. It was the first contract finalized with a manufacturer and negotiations are under way with three other vaccine makers, Chen said. With the more than 4.6 million doses that can be obtained through the COVAX platform —