Geithner hits China on intellectual property as Senate considers currency-manipulation bill

Michael Watson Contributor
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In a forum in Washington on Thursday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner struck out at China’s lax intellectual property standards. Reuters reported that he told the forum the Chinese “have made possible systematic stealing of intellectual property of American companies and have not been very aggressive to put in place the basic protections for property rights that every serious economy needs over time.”

China has relaxed some rules that mandated transfer of intellectual property to the government from companies that do business there. But business groups have complained that local governments, especially, have not implemented the new rules.

The tough talk comes as a bipartisan group of 20 senators began a new drive to move a bill calling for the Treasury Department to investigate “misaligned currencies” and to take retributive action if those currencies’ countries do not change their policies.

Reuters also reported that 51 business organizations wrote to senators encouraging them to take action on intellectual property.

The groups opposed the currency bill, saying that “unilateral legislation on this issue [yuan reform] would be counterproductive not only to the goals related to China’s exchange rate that we all share, but also to our nation’s broader objectives of addressing the many and growing challenges that we face in China.”