The so-called US/China 'trade war'

Discussed by Holly White on the BBC World Service

Earlier this month, Holly White discussed the so-called US/China 'trade war' on the BBC World Service’s World Business Report earlier this month. 

Despite the jittery response of global financial markets to news of China's planned retaliation to US tariff increases on more than 1,300 Chinese goods with its own list of tariffs on US goods, Holly countered the suggestion that China's perceived IP theft was behind the US move.

While acknowledging that counterfeiting and copycat goods have been a problem in China, Holly explained that the US was likely responding to China's emergence as an 'innovation nation' by re-asserting its own position and that US tariffs could not possibly equate to claims of IP theft and technology transfer.

She said that China is well-aware of the issues around IP and is responding by developing a rapidly evolving and first-class system to deal with IP infringement to improve its international reputation and any planned increase in US tariffs would not change that. She also made the point that other countries also experienced issues with foreign IP.

Holly went on to explain that although the Chinese government often demanded that foreign companies create a joint venture in China to be fully operational in the country, there was flexibility to ensure that the system worked for both entities and processes in place to protect the transfer of foreign IP.

As part of the same segment, China's Vice-Minister for Commerce Wang Shouwen said that although China did not want a trade war with the US, it was fully prepared to show its mettle.

You can listen to the programme here (Holly's piece starts from 5 minutes 50 seconds)