Issues, TPP, Trade

Trump Promised to Get Tough on China’s ‘Massive’ Intellectual Property Theft

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Despite what you have heard from the Left and the media (please pardon the redundancy), now-President-elect Donald Trump ran on a full panoply of ideas and policy positions.  His campaign website contained detailed plans on, amongst other things, immigration, tax and regulatory reform – and a new way to approach international trade.

(Trump just didn’t expound on them at his routinely massive rallies – as that was not the time, place or audience for it.  Those weren’t the venues for comprehensive white paper discussions.)

But as Trump repeatedly and with clear brevity enunciated – on all sorts of trade, by all sorts of countries – “America is getting ripped off.”  Our one-sided “free trade” allows nigh everything into our country completely free from any taxes, levies or stipulations – while we ignore the very many anti-free-trade impositions emplaced upon our stuff by other nations.

One of the worst abusers of our idiocy – excuse me, our “free trade” fetishism – is China: “A simple Web search for ‘China Tariffs on US Goods’ – tells much of the tale the media won’t.  China manipulating its currency to warp the world market – is trade warfare, not free trade.  Oh – and China stealing $300+ billion per year in U.S. intellectual property (IP) is certainly all warfare all the time.”

Get that last bit?  China is stealing from us hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of IP per annum.  And has been – for years.  And we’ve openly recognized it – for years.

China and Intellectual Property Theft (January 11, 2011)

How China Steals Our Secrets (April 2, 2012)

US Should Get Tough on Chinese IP Theft, Committee Warns (May 23, 2013)

If only.

China in Denial About Addiction to IP Theft (February 20, 2014)

China ain’t the only ones.

China Is Stealing American Property (September 24, 2015)

Chinese Intellectual Property Theft Demands More Action (February 9, 2016)

Indeed it does.  But we’ve done absolutely nothing about any of this – for years.

But as Trump campaigned for the presidency, it would appear a critical mass was being not just reached – but delivered.

Appearing on May 15, 2016 on Fox News Sunday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said: “When you hear, for example, that the Chinese last year probably stole $360 billion in intellectual property from the United States, I think being tough about that’s a good thing. I think conservatives can be for very tough-minded trade.”

We can be indeed.  But will we be?

Trump his own self indicates we will.  At a December 8, 2016 rally, he said: “One of the most important relationships we must improve, and we have to improve, is our relationship with China….They haven’t played by the rules, and I know that it’s time that they’re going to start.  They’ve got to – we’re all in this thing together, folks.  We’ve got to play by the rules, folks.  You have the massive theft of intellectual property….”

Well, Trump has now won the presidency.  He will be sworn into office ten days hence.  And he has named as his nominee for Unites States Trade Representative – Robert Lighthizer.  How’s that choice looking?

Trump Trade Pick Opposes China Policies: “Robert Lighthizer will become America’s chief trade negotiator, tasked with reducing the US trade deficits which Mr Trump criticised during his campaign.  Mr Lighthizer, who served under President Ronald Reagan, will ‘fight for good trade deals that put the American worker first,’ Mr Trump said.

Eminently promising.  And on intellectual property?

USTR Nominee Lighthizer May Fit Strong Stance On IP Protection: “Lighthizer was deputy USTR under President Reagan in the 1980s, (and) has been an advocate for a more aggressive approach to trade with China, including on intellectual property rights.”

Excellent.  And how do we know Trump and Lighthizer are for full, actual free trade – where all sides are actually engaged in free trade?  Because the media-usual-suspects are accusing them of being anti-free trade.

What Trump and Lighthizer are – is anti-stupid trade.  Where we ignore China’s huge intellectual property heists (and currency manipulation, and tax abuses of our companies, and…) – and blithely, blindly skip forward waving around the latest “free trade” deal.  Containing the exact same stupidities as last time, and the time before that, and the time before that, and… – all over again.

In government – personnel is policy.  Trump’s choice of Lighthizer is excellent personnel – to finally deliver us the vastly improved Chinese IP policy candidate Trump promised.

So please, let’s do it.  Finally.

This is a guest post by Seton Motley Founder and President of Less Government

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