the WHITE HOUSEPresident Donald J. Trump

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Fact Sheet: President Donald J. Trump Protects American Intellectual Property

PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP PROTECTS AMERICAN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
“Enforcing intellectual property rules alone could save millions of American jobs.” – Then-Candidate Donald J. Trump

INVESTIGATING THEFT: Today, President Donald J. Trump is taking the first step to ensure we protect American innovation and the intellectual property (IP) of American companies.

  • President Trump is signing a Presidential Memorandum to direct the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to examine whether China should be investigated for unreasonable or discriminatory policies that may harm American IP rights, innovation, or technological development.
    • President Trump and his Administration have a strong commitment to protecting the IP of Americans and ending the illegal theft and transfer of IP to foreign nations.
  • USTR will analyze issues raised by the Presidential Memorandum and consult with Government agencies and advisory committees to determine what action, if any, is appropriate.
    •  While there have been serious and consistent allegations of a problem with China and IP theft, President Trump is not prejudging the inquiry and USTR will decide whether to launch a formal investigation and, if so, whether action should be taken and what that action would be.

CHINA PROFITS FROM AMERICAN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: Reports suggest that China has greatly benefited from the theft of American IP, in some cases forcing American companies to transfer their innovation to benefit China. 

  • According to the 2017 update to the 2013 report of the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property (IP Commission Report) released by the National Bureau of Asian Research, Chinese government policies lead to the theft of American IP.
    • China uses restrictions such as joint venture requirements, equity ownership limitations, opaque administrative processes, and other practices aimed at the transfer of United States technology to Chinese companies.
  • China has gained unauthorized access to the computer networks of United States businesses for commercial purpose and, on a number of occasions, has stolen firms’ commercial information.
  • According to the Department of Homeland Security, China, including Hong Kong, accounts for 88 percent of seized counterfeit goods coming into the United States.
    • According to the United States Chamber of Commerce, 86 percent of all counterfeit goods worldwide come from China and Hong Kong.
  •  According to the United States Chamber of Commerce, the equivalent of 12.5 percent of China’s exported goods are counterfeit.

AMERICA AND ITS WORKERS SUFFER: IP theft directly harms the American economy and American workers.

  • American workers and companies are directly harmed by theft of IP, which has caused hundreds of billions of dollars in damage to the United States economy.
    • The IP Commission Report estimates that the annual cost to the United States economy from IP theft could be as high as $600 billion.
  • According to the IP Commission Report, China is estimated to be responsible for between 50 percent and 80 percent of all IP theft costs that harm the United States economy.
  • The United States economy and labor markets depend on American innovation and productivity; the scale and persistence of IP theft directly threatens the economy.  
    • The 81 industries designated as IP-intensive accounted, directly and indirectly, for 45.5 million jobs in 2014, representing 29.8 percent of all jobs in the United States. 
  • As General Keith Alexander, former Director of the National Security Agency, put it: the ongoing theft of IP is “the greatest transfer of wealth in history.”

A PROMISE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE: President Trump is following through on his promise to the American people to protect their IP so they can benefit from their innovation.

  • Then-candidate Trump said, on August 8, 2016:

“Just enforcing intellectual property rules alone could save millions of American jobs. According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, improved protection of America’s intellectual property in China would produce more than 2 million more jobs right here in the United States.”