‘Forced tech transfer’ has to stop or be regulated, says EU ambassador to China

‘Forced tech transfer’ has to stop or be regulated, says EU ambassador to China, by Huileng Tan.

Beijing sometimes forces foreign companies to hand over their technological know-how in exchange for access to its massive domestic market. The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has demanded that China cease forced tech transfers, which have become a flashpoint in the U.S.-China trade war.

“This has to stop or to be regulated,”  Nicolas Chapuis, ambassador of the EU delegation to China] told CNBC at the European Chamber Annual Conference 2018 in Beijing.

“Of course if a company wants to open its tech books to a Chinese company — all right, that’s not an issue, but it has to be regulated so that there is no so-called ‘forced tech transfer,'” Chapuis said.

Beijing has claimed it will step up protection of intellectual property rights, but experts point out that the country still wields its state-controlled legal system to take whatever trade secrets it wants for its own companies.

One of those asymmetries that has to stop, even if it takes tariffs for a while.