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Theft of trade secrets worsening in China
WASHINGTON—Chinese theft of valuable US trade secrets, much via sophisticated cyber attacks, is becoming a much more serious problem, US industry officials said yesterday. “This matter requires more attention,” Jeremy Waterman, head of the US Chamber of Commerce’s China division, told a US government panel led by the US Trade Representative’s office. The issue “has risen substantially in importance over the last year, year and a half,” Waterman said.
Peter Dent, a vice president at the Electron Energy Corp, said both large and small US companies face “persistent and increasingly complex cyber-attacks (from China) in an effort to steal intellectual property from company computer networks.” Defending company trade secrets against the attacks was “very difficult” and caused a substantial drain on resources, he said.
Companies need the US government to take action, which could include suspending “trade benefits to countries sponsoring these actions,” Dent said. USTR held the hearing as part of its annual evaluation of how well China is meeting the commitments it made to join the World Trade Organisation in 2001. The office usually issues a report on China to Congress around December 11, the anniversary of Beijing’s accession to the WTO.
US exports to China have soared since China joined the WTO and the country is now the third-largest foreign market for US goods. But business groups told the USTR-led panel China maintains a extensive web of discriminatory policies that prevent US companies from making many additional sales and investments in the world’s second largest economy.
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