Tariffs seen as way to fight Chinese intellectual property theft

China is accusing Trump of using bullying tactics by imposing billions in tariffs on goods imported from the communist country, according to CBS News.

A spokesman for the Chinese Commerce Ministry said accusations of forced technology transfer and intellectual property theft “seriously distorted the history and reality.”

But Betsy McCaughey, writing at Townhall, notes that the tariffs are being called a theft tax, because the Chinese government policy has been to steal or extort American intellectual property. “China steals something between $225 billion to $600 billion worth of fashion designs, pharmaceutical formulas and new technologies from U.S. companies every year, according to the Commission on Theft of American Intellectual Property,” she writes.

Meanwhile, at The Wall Street Journal, Peter Navarro, an assistant to the president for trade and manufacturing policy and director of the White House National Trade Council, reports that American companies are being forced to accept technology transfers just to gain access to the huge Chinese market.

“In 2010, for example, General Electric formed a joint venture with the state-owned Harbin Electric to manufacture wind turbines,” he writes. “The venture ended after three years of sharing technology. As a result of deals like this — and at least one conviction of a Chinese wind-turbine maker for trade secret theft — Chinese firms’ share of the international wind turbine market rose from 9% to nearly 25% over the past decade.”

McCaughey says the Chinese apparently believe that “free market” means steal what you want. The Chinese government politely calls it “the assimilation and absorption of imported technology.”

“American Superconductor Corporation was almost put out of business, its stock value driven down 96 percent, when a Chinese wind turbine maker stole its technology and flooded the Chinese market with copies,” explains McCaughey.

Navarro points out a similar problem with solar energy. China’s theft of American technology has resulted it now having six of the top 10 producers of solar panels, including the top two, though it previously had no company in the top 10.

“If China continues to escalate this trade dispute rather than treat the U.S. fairly, Americans may finally wake up to an economic and national-security threat that the president has seen coming for decades,” Navarro concludes. “With its huge trade surplus with the U.S., China must know it has far more to lose in this trade dispute.”