Could this be the relief from China’s abusive practices U.S. innovators have been asking for?
On Friday, August 18, 2017, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) formally initiated a Section 301 investigation into China’s intellectual property practices. The move was foreshadowed earlier that week when President Donald Trump signed an Executive Memorandum ordering U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to examine whether to launch a 301 investigation.
“On Monday, President Trump instructed me to look into Chinese laws, policies, and practices which may be harming American intellectual property rights, innovation, or technology development,” Mr Lighthizer said in a statement. “After consulting with stakeholders and other government agencies, I have determined that these critical issues merit a thorough investigation. I notified the President that today I am beginning an investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.”
The Executive Memorandum declared 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 President’s 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.”
Senior administration officials have said an investigation would take up to a year and would involve both negotiations with Beijing and public hearings. Details on the investigation, including the schedule for public comments and a public hearing, are set out in a notice posted on the USTR website and to be published in the Federal Register.