China Official Assures Gains In Intellectual Property Protection

Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–A senior Chinese trade official assured U.S. business representatives Thursday that his government is firmly committed to protecting intellectual property rights.

Chong Quan, China’s deputy international trade representative, said a six-month crackdown launched by the government in October will ensure that all companies are protected from infringement, including multinationals.

“China fully understands the concern of American industries on the IPR issue,” Chong said at an event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We are deeply aware that only by strengthening IPR protection can we encourage innovation.”

For many U.S. companies operating in China, lax intellectual rights enforcement is a bigger concern than the more high-profile dispute over currencies. The U.S. has taken particular aim at China’s “indigenous innovation” policies that threaten access to the local market.

Chong said the campaign, running through next March, will focus on the most high-profile problems of counterfeiting, with plans to boost supervision, increase punishments and expose violators to act as a deterrent.

Tami Overby, the Chamber’s vice president for Asia, welcomed the six-month operation and said she hopes it translates into tangible results. But she said the group remains concerned about specifics of China’s innovation policies.

Chong is in town to meet with his counterparts from the U.S. Commerce Department and U.S. Trade Representative’s office for an intellectual property working group ahead of next month’s annual meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in Washington.

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