China’s Forced Technology Transfer Problem—And What to Do About It

Policy Brief
18-13
June 2018
Photo Credit: 
REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

At the core of the Trump administration’s dispute with China lies a real problem—China’s persistent misappropriation of foreign technology. The administration has repeatedly threatened a strategy of broad-based retaliation that will arguably cause US firms and workers more economic pain than the Chinese behavior that US trade negotiators are seeking to change. Instead of indiscriminate tariffs, carefully targeted sanctions should be imposed on the Chinese entities directly involved in technology misappropriation. This Policy Brief proposes a new structure, based on a current bill with bipartisan support in Congress, that can equip policymakers with the data they need to impose target sanctions, outlines existing policy tools they can use, and points to ways to engage Western allies in taking this more targeted approach.