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By Len Bracken
U.S. companies continue to face a barrage of unfair Chinese trade and investment practices, according to a March 30 report from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).
The National Trade Estimate report on Foreign Trade Barriers covers 64 countries, territories, and regional associations, but it highlights Beijing’s efforts to obtain U.S. technology through investment restrictions and efforts to promote domestic Chinese industries.
USTR has said it will propose by April 6 Chinese products that could be subject to U.S. tariffs to counter these efforts. The tariffs would follow a public comment period and further analysis by USTR.
“China uses a range of measures, including industrial plans such as ‘Made in China 2025,’ to engineer the transfer of foreign technology to China,” a fact sheet on major developments in the report said.
These measures include “massive subsidies” to high-technology manufacturing industries, as well as denial of financial and regulatory incentives to companies that don’t own their intellectual property in China, conduct large amounts of research and development in China, or manufacture products in China.
“China also conditions foreign investment approvals on technology transfers to Chinese entities; mandates adverse licensing terms on foreign intellectual property licensors; uses anti-monopoly enforcement to extract technology on unreasonable terms; and subsidizes acquisitions of foreign high-technology firms to bring technology to Chinese parent companies,” the fact sheet said.
Other problems posed by China include export restraints and import bans, excess industrial capacity, and cybersecurity measures that would impose restrictions on a wide range of U.S. information-and-communications technology products.
Cloud-computing restrictions, web filtering and blocking, and restrictions on cross-border data flows are among the China-related problems outlined in a separate fact sheet on barriers to digital trade.
Section 181 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended, requires USTR to make an annual “inventory” of foreign trade and investment barriers. This inventory “enhances awareness of these trade restrictions and facilitates negotiations aimed at reducing or eliminating these barriers,” the report said.
The annual National Trade Estimate report provides details on problems U.S. negotiators would like to solve with Canada and Mexico through talks to update the 1994 North American Free Trade (NAFTA) agreement.
The Canadian issues include:
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