As a group that represents some of the largest companies worldwide, the CNBC Global CFO Council collectively handles nearly $5 trillion in market value across a wide variety of sectors. A survey that the council commissioned in February found that one in five North American-based corporations on the CNBC Global CFO Council says Chinese companies have stolen their intellectual property within the last year and 7 of the 23 companies surveyed say that Chinese firms stole from them at some point over the last decade, according to CNBC.
Trump U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer recently told the House Ways and Means Committee that Trump’s trade deal with China must not only include more Chinese purchases of U.S. products but also enforcement, asserting that the president’s current plan does not draw a hard enough line.
“We can compete with anyone in the world, but we must have rule, enforced rules, that make sure market outcomes and not state capitalism and technology theft determine winners,” Lighthizer told the congressional committee. “Let me be clear. Much still needs to be done both before an agreement is reached and, more importantly, after it is reached if one is reached.”
China IP thieves currently cost the United States economy an estimated $600 billion dollars annually. The Chinese government recently issued a memo that outlined 38 potential punishments for IP infringers, including denial of access to government funding.
“The mere publication of the memo (which explicitly referred to American complaints) was an important concession: Until quite recently the Chinese government had officially denied that significant IP theft occurred in China,” conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute’s Claude Barfield wrote. The Chinese government, however, is not exactly innocent when it comes to violating cyber rules and American privacy, as they have exerted extensive cyberspying efforts to obtain US government secrets and technological innovations.