China has long been known as the land of knock-offs and counterfeit goods, and we have reported on its practices concerning the theft of intellectual property before. Earlier articles can be read here and here.
On 15 August 2017 we reported on President Trump's announcement that he was going to launch an investigation into Chinese Intellectual Property practices, with US trade official Robert Lighthizer to lead the inquiry. China has opposed the US's attempts to take action; earlier this week the Guardian reported that Chinese commerce ministry official Gao Feng stated in a news conference, in response to US threatened investigations, China "will take all the necessary measures to resolutely defend the interests of China and Chinese firms".
However, this week China announced it will tighten controls over its intellectual property practices. According to Reuters, Wang Shouwen, Vice Minister of the Chinese commerce ministry, has stated that the particular areas that China's crackdown will be focusing on will be trademark abuse and business secret theft. Shouwen further added that China's IP practices were "not perfect".
If the US finds evidence of IP theft it is unclear how the US will proceed. The BBC, however, has reported that they may bring a complaint to the World Trade Organisation who can ultimately enforce sanctions.
It will be interesting to see how Trump's administration will proceed with the apparently ongoing inquiry and whether China will, in fact, take the reins on curbing its unfair IP practices.
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