April 28, 2019 / 4:41 AM / 25 days ago

China says criticisms on IP protection lack evidence amid trade spat

BEIJING (Reuters) - Criticisms of China’s intellectual property (IP) protection “lack evidence” and IP infringement is a worldwide problem, the head of China’s National Intellectual Property Administration said on Sunday.

FILE PHOTO - A Chinese official adjusts a Chinese flag before the start of a meeting between Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi, India, December 21, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Critics also ignored the significant progress China has made on IP protection, Shen Changyu told a press conference in response to a question on concerns raised by countries like the United States.

“Some countries’ criticisms of China’s IP protection lack evidence and are non-specific,” Shen said.

IP protection has been a topic of “deep concern” in ongoing Sino-U.S. trade negotiations and China would take further measures to comprehensively strengthen its IP protections this year, he said.

The measures will include amending China’s IP laws to increase the cost for infringements, boosting the efficiency of IP approvals, and providing lower-cost and more convenient IP protection channels, Shen said.

Washington and Beijing last year slapped import duties on each other’s products as the United States seeks reforms to Chinese practices that it says result in the theft of U.S. intellectual property and the forced transfer of technology from U.S. companies to Chinese firms.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will travel to Beijing for trade talks beginning on April 30 to discuss issues including intellectual property and forced technology transfer.

In April the Trump administration labeled 36 countries as inadequately protecting U.S. intellectual property rights, keeping China on a priority watch list, a move that Beijing said lacks objective standards and fairness.

“China has some problems and we are stepping up efforts to fix them. But meanwhile, IP infringement is a global problem that exists in every country,” Shen told reporters.

“Every country should try to improve their business environment and fix their problems, instead of window dressing themselves,” he added.

Reporting By Shen Yan and Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; writing By Shu Zhang in SINGAPORE; editing by Richard Pullin

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