The ongoing trade war between the US and China appears to have had an impact on the latter nation, with an announcement claiming that stronger punishments for intellectual property (IP) theft are to be introduced in the country.

China has long been the world's central point for technology manufacturing and has its own array of companies producing products and intellectual properties for the local and international markets. It is also known, however, for a somewhat fast-and-loose approach to the concepts of copyright and intellectual property - the latter being at the heart of an indictment accusing UMC and Fujian Jinhua of stealing trade secrets from US memory maker Micron in order to launch a native Chinese DRAM line.

China's inability, or unwillingness, to police and punish these transgressions - some of which, as with the accusations against Fujian Jinhua, are seemingly carried out by state-owned organisations - has been a sore spot in the country's ongoing trade war with the US, but a series of tariffs introduced by President Donald Trump appears to be shifting the country's stance: China's National Development and Reform Commission has published a memorandum of cooperation promising greater disciplinary actions against IP theft.

Beginning this month, the memo declares, China will adopt a joint disciplinary system described in a 58-page document (PDF warning, also it's in Chinese) which outlines 38 punishments including transgressors being banned from raising finance, tendering for government procurement or financial support, and foreign trade, while also being placed on a central list preventing them from accessing foreign currency exchange at China's main banks.

China, however, has spoken up against IP theft before only to seemingly continue turning a blind eye to the practice. Whether the country's latest move is genuine or on paper only - and the effect it will have in the US-China trade war and its tariffs - remains to be seen.

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October 14 2021 | 15:04