"Trade secret theft threatens American businesses, undermines national security, and places the security of the U.S. economy in jeopardy," the White House said in a 100-plus report released Wednesday. "These acts also diminish U.S. export prospects around the globe and put American jobs at risk."
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The announcement came one day after a private consulting company revealed new details linking the Chinese military to a vast web of cyber corporate espionage. But the report released Wednesday went beyond cyberspace, citing examples of cases in which former corporate insiders stole trade secrets from American companies and attempted to bring them to Chinese firms.
Mentioned as victims of that type of insider attack were Ford, DuPont, Dow Chemical and Motorola. In one 2011 case cited by the White House customs officers at Chicago's O'Hare Airport stopped a suspect who was allegedly carrying 1,000 sensitive documents from Motorola, $30,000 in cash and a one-way ticket to China.
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"As an administration we will be vigilant in addressing threats, including corporate and state sponsored trade secret theft that jeopardizes our status as the world's leader for innovation," said Victoria Espinel, the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. "We will act vigorously to combat the theft of U.S. trade secrets that could be used by foreign companies or by foreign governments to gain an unfair economic edge."
At the State Department, the White House said diplomats would "apply sustained and coordinated diplomatic pressure" on countries engaging in trade secret theft. And the U.S. trade representative will try to negotiate new provisions in trade agreements focusing on trade secrets.