An official from China's Ministry of Commerce called on Washington to use multilateral tools to resolve allegations of Chinese intellectual property theft on Tuesday, following a move by U.S. President Donald Trump to authorize his trade representative to look into Chinese trade policies under Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974.
"Cooperation in intellectual property between China and the U.S. in the past few years has been quite fruitful," Chen Fuli, deputy director of the Department of Treaty and Law of the ministry, told CGTN. "So we hope the U.S. will respect that fact and act with caution."
The allegation comes amid rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula and is likely to cast a shadow on China-U.S. relations, months after Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump agreed to develop bilateral trade ties through multiple mechanisms such as the Comprehensive Economic Dialogue and the 100 Day Action Plan during their meeting in Florida.
Chen said that China will closely watch the development of the inquiry and is greatly concerned about the intentions behind such a move.
He added that China had been strengthening its administrative and legislative protection of the intellectual property rights of foreign investors.
China's Commerce Ministry and Foreign Ministry have urged the U.S. to respect objective facts and multilateral trade principles and act prudently. The ministries' spokespersons said that China will adopt all appropriate measures to safeguard its rights.
Section 301 refers to the Sections 301-310 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974. Each year the Office of the United States Trade Representative prepares a Special 301 Report, which identifies a list of "Priority Foreign Countries," a "Priority Watch List" and a "Watch List" that judge and categorize countries according to the adequacy of their intellectual property laws.
According to Chen, Section 301 has always been unilateral in nature since its formulation and has been criticized by many nations as contrary to the multilateral principle embodied by WTO.
The official stressed that China hopes the U.S. can keep its promise to adjust and implement Section 301 in a way that is in line with trade multilateralism and "refrain from being the rule breaker of multilateralism."