China regrets US charges of inadequate IPR protection

Updated: 2013-05-03 07:34

By Li Jiabao (China Daily)

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The Chinese government expressed deep regret about the US decision to continually put the country on its "priority watch list" due to insufficient efforts in intellectual property rights protection, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.

The United States put China on its "priority watch list" for the ninth year, "for which we express great regret", the ministry said in a statement on its website.

The office of the United States Trade Representative has grave concerns about misappropriation of trade secrets in China, and incremental progress on a few of China's many other significant IPR and market-access challenges, the agency said in its 2013 Special 301 Report, an annual assessment of IPR enforcement.

"Obtaining effective enforcement of IPR in China remains a central challenge, as it has been for many years. This situation has been made worse by cyber theft, as information suggests that actors located in China have been engaged in sophisticated, targeted efforts to steal IP from US corporate systems," the report said.

Other countries on the list are Algeria, Argentina, Chile, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, and Venezuela, while Ukraine was the first designated "priority foreign country" in 11 years.

Cyber attacks and corporate espionage allegedly originating from China have strained the China-US relations.

Last October, a US congressional report called Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp called threats to national security, calling on the US government and private-sector companies to avoid buying equipment from both.

The report also took note of several positive developments and said that in the past year, the climate for IPR protection and enforcement continued to reflect efforts toward, and opportunities for improvement, as well as challenges for US rights holders.

The commerce ministry's statement said: "The Chinese government highly emphasizes IPR protection and has made great progress in IPR legislation and enforcement. The recent years saw a series of enforcements in IPR protection."

In 2011, the State Council, China's Cabinet, set up a permanent national leading group office to coordinate the country's fight against IPR infringement and the manufacture and sale of counterfeit goods.

The statement also said that the Chinese government attached great attention to commercial-secrets protection, and that "China is willing to enhance cooperation with other governments, including the US, to enhance the world's IPR protection".

"The situation of IPR infringement is still challenging and we must maintain intensive combat," Vice-Premier Wang Yang told a conference on April 28.

President Xi Jinping said during the Boao Forum for Asia 2013 that China will continue to hone its legal system and investment environment so that all companies can enjoy equal access to production, market competition and legal protection.

"The US should increase its high-tech exports to China to narrow the trade deficit rather than frightening China with this annual report, which is not effective and obsolete," said Cao Heping, deputy dean of the Institute of Digital China, and a professor at Peking University's School of Economics.