Donald Trump ordered an investigation Monday (August 14) into China’s alleged theft of intellectual property that could lead to retaliatory tariffs under the 1974 Trade Act. Before taking unilateral action in violation of international law, the Trump administration can and should bring cases against China at the World Trade Organization. It stands a good chance of winning precedent-setting judgements that the WTO would enforce through economic sanctions.
Intellectual property accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the U.S. economy, and the U.S. government has a duty to protect the IP of American rights holders abroad. The annual cost to U.S. companies of pirated software, counterfeit goods, and the theft of trade secrets is as much as $600 billion. Most of these losses are in China.
This article first appeared in the Wall Street Journal on August 16, 2016 (paywall).The views expressed in the reports featured are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Asia Global Institute’s editorial policy.