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US to press China on controversial technology policy
Published on: 2010-07-29
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WASHINGTON — The United States said Wednesday it would continue to press China on its drive to develop homegrown technology that threatened global intellectual property protection and market competition.

Despite assurances from Beijing, President Barack Obama's top trade official said Washington would raise the issue at upcoming bilateral trade meetings.

"We did address it and we were pleased that we got them to at least agree to be more transparent but we do not have final resolution of that," US Trade Representative Ron Kirk told reporters.

"That is going to be one of the top items that we continue to engage China on," he said, commenting on criticism by the top US business lobby on Chinese industrial policies promoting indigenous innovation.

The US Chamber of Commerce said in a report released this week that China was abusing the allure of its vast market to push foreign companies to transfer their latest technologies to Chinese competitors.

This was a "blueprint for technology theft on a scale the world has never seen before," it said.

The chamber's report is the latest in a growing chorus of complaints by foreign businesses and governments over perceived unfair policies and market restrictions in the world's third-largest economy.

China committed at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (SED) with the United States in May that its innovation policies would be consistent with principles of non-discrimination, intellectual property rights enforcement, market competition, and open trade and investment, deputy US Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis had said.

Beijing also pledged to leave the terms and conditions of technology transfer, production processes, and other proprietary information to individual enterprises, Marantis said earlier this month.

"The progress we made at SED was important but that is not the end of the discussion on that," Kirk said.

China launched its indigenous innovation campaign in 2006 to encourage the development of domestic technology, and thereby reduce its reliance on foreign know-how, to boost economic growth and national security.

Tensions flared after Beijing issued rules late last year that were widely seen by foreign businesses as squeezing them out of the government's multi-billion dollar procurement market.

Concerns over indigenous innovation extended to security encryption rules, domestic patent laws and preferential policies for domestic companies, the US Chamber of Commerce report said.

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