US formally institutes IP investigation of China

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has formally initiated an investigation of China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 over its intellectual property practices.

The investigation will seek to determine “whether acts, policies, and practices of the Government of China related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation are unreasonable or discriminatory and burden or restrict U.S. commerce.”

Lighthizer said: “President Trump instructed me to look into Chinese laws, policies, and practices which may be harming American intellectual property rights, innovation, or technology development.

“After consulting with stakeholders and other government agencies, I have determined that these critical issues merit a thorough investigation.

“I notified the President that … I am beginning an investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.”

The initiation follows President Trump’s Memorandum of August 14 instructing the USTR to consider the possible initiation of an investigation.

Trump’s Memorandum emphasized that “the United States is a world leader in research-and-development-intensive, high-technology goods” and that “violations of intellectual property rights and other unfair technology transfers potentially threaten United States firms by undermining their ability to compete fairly in the global market.”

The Memorandum further noted that China’s conduct “may inhibit United States exports, deprive United States citizens of fair remuneration for their innovations, divert American jobs to workers in China, contribute to our trade deficit with China, and otherwise undermine American manufacturing, services, and innovation.”