The U.S. Trade Representative's office criticized China on Wednesday for failing to stop the growing theft of American trade secrets that are the lifeblood of U.S economic might, in the latest sign of Washington's frustration with the problem.
"Not only are repeated thefts occurring inside China, but also outside of China for the benefit of Chinese entities," USTR said in its annual report on countries with the worst records of protecting U.S. intellectual property rights.
"The United States strongly urges the Chinese Government take serious steps to put an end to these activities and to deter further activity by rigorously investigating and prosecuting thefts of trade secrets by both cyber and conventional means," the report said.
U.S. corporate victims of trade-secret theft have included General Motors, Ford, DuPont, Dow Chemical, Motorola, Boeing and Cargill as well as lesser-known companies.
A target company can see the payoff from research investment evaporate as a result of corporate espionage and lose market position, competitive advantage and efficiencies.
The White House in February rolled out a strategy to address the growing problems, which occur both through cyber-attacks and older methods such as a disloyal employee stealing trade secrets on the job and selling them to a rival company.