WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. concerns about China’s policies to promote domestic innovation by imposing unfavorable terms on foreign companies will be a major topic at high-level bilateral talks this month in Beijing, a top U.S. official said on Wednesday.
“We will be raising the issue of indigenous innovation ... throughout the trip, including at the S&ED” (Strategic & Economic Dialogue) meeting, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke told reporters ahead of a clean energy trade mission he is leading next week to China.
Many companies in the United States and Europe object to Chinese policies aimed at increasing China’s share of the world’s most valuable patents and trademarks by requiring companies to develop and register intellectual property in China to qualify for certain government procurement preferences.
The issue is seen as a sign that China is retreating from steps it has taken to open its economy to foreign companies over the past several decades.
Locke also defended a string of U.S. anti-dumping duties against Chinese steel and other goods over the past several years that have prompted Beijing to accuse the United States of protectionism.
He noted the cases represent less than 3 percent of total U.S. imports from China.
The U.S. government takes action only when an affected U.S. company or industry has filed a legal petition showing it has been harmed or threatened by the imports, he said.
On another topic, Locke acknowledged Beijing’s interest in the United States’ easing restrictions on U.S. exports of high-technology goods to China.
The United States is in the midst of a review on such “export controls” and will have more to announce on that in coming months, Locke said.
But he noted less than 5 percent of U.S. exports to China currently require a license, and said most exports of controlled technologies to China are approved in a “very fast and expeditious way.”
Reporting by Doug Palmer; editing by Mohammad Zargham