USW: Section 301 Decision Confronts China’s Intellectual Property Abuses

CONTACT: Holly Hart, (202) 778-4384, hhart@usw.org

United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard issued the following statement after the Trump Administration announced the conclusion of their Section 301 investigation of China’s intellectual property abuses and a set of enforcement actions.

“Intellectual property is critical to the future of our nation’s manufacturing base. China’s aggressive plan to buy, force transfer of, or steal our intellectual property to advance its interests is a clear threat to our national and economic security.

“For far too long, the response to China’s actions has been to simply complain while China continued to pursue its state-led industrial plans, its forced technology transfers and its outright cyberespionage. 

“This has catapulted China forward in sectors ranging from advanced materials to robotics to new energy vehicles among others. These actions threaten our future.

“The USW and our employers have been victims of China’s actions. We were directly attacked by China’s People’s Liberation Army hackers, as shown in the May 2014 indictment obtained by the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, David Hickton. Several of our employers were also identified as victims in those attacks.

“The extensive 301 investigation identified a broad set of illegal, predatory and protectionist actions that are clearly being pursued to advance China’s public plans to win in today’s economy and dominate the industries of the future.

“The three-part response, which includes tariffs, investment restrictions and a WTO case, is a balanced approach.

“Today’s actions come on the heels of the Administration’s Section 232 relief measures on steel and aluminum. That decision, designed to ensure our national security interests, has already had a positive impact with the announcement of roughly 2,500 jobs at facilities that will be restarted.   

“The relief in the 232 case is being criticized by many who have profited from subsidized and dumped imports, just as today’s relief will be criticized by those who have largely been willing to ignore China’s policies.

“We will measure the success of the 232 relief by whether production expands and jobs are maintained and created. We will work to ensure the  Administration takes a balanced approach that advances our national and economic security interests. We also intend to fight for the interests of our members and ensure accountability.

“These trade actions will make a difference, but trade policy cannot be viewed in isolation. The recently-enacted Republican tax bill provides billions of dollars to companies that outsource production and offshore jobs. 

“Cuts in the budget for international labor affairs mean that violations of workers’ rights will go unaddressed, providing further incentives for companies to move their operations to countries where they can abuse workers. Education budget cuts will undermine work force and skills development.

“We intend to continue to work so that success on trade will not be wiped away from these and other actions.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.

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United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222