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            july 19, 2018

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Trump administration to impose sanctions against China for IP violations


US President Donald Trump's administration is expected to soon impose sanctions on China for violating US intellectual property rights, in a bid to protect US companies' industrial and trade secrets.
However, trade experts worry about the consequences, especially retaliation by Beijing, Agence France-Presse reported.
US companies have long complained about Chinese rules that force them to share intellectual property, leading to theft of information with little impediment or enforcement.
"China is home to widespread infringing activity, including trade secret theft, rampant online piracy and counterfeiting, and high levels of physical pirated and counterfeit exports to markets around the globe," the US Trade Representative was cited as saying in its annual report on IP issues published in April.
In addition, "China imposes requirements that US firms develop their IP in China or transfer their IP to Chinese entities as a condition to accessing the Chinese market."
During the presidential campaign, Mr Trump vowed to hit China with a 45 per cent tariff on all imported goods to address the trade deficit with the country, which totalled US$309 billion last year.
Since he took office the administration, Mr Trump has scaled back the rhetoric and tried for cooperation, including trade talks last month rebranded as the US-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue (CED).
But with little to show from those efforts, and no help from China in containing North Korea's nuclear weapons programme, Mr Trump has launched unilateral actions to address unfair trade in aluminum, steel and now IP.
"If Trump felt he was getting good cooperation on North Korea he would not be ramping up" the trade pressure against China," Gary Clyde Hufbauer of the Peterson Institute for International Economics told AFP.
Trade experts say the retaliation could come in the form of targeted tariffs against specific companies, like state-owned Chinese firms thought to be benefiting from American intellectual property.
China likely will impose tariffs of its own, and file a WTO complaint against the United States, and public opinion might be in Beijing's favour defending itself from what would be seen as yet another anti-free-trade move by Mr Trump.

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