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Robert Samuelson: Why We Must Challenge China On Trade

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There is much to dislike in President Trump's trade agenda, but he is correct on one subject: China's relentless quest to extort American "intellectual property" — technologies, business methods, patents. Trump took a swipe last week at China's policies by ordering his top trade officials to investigate. Whether he can alter China's behavior is unclear, but he is right to try, even at the risk of a trade war.

China has high economic ambitions, write David Dollar and Ryan Hass of the Brookings Institution. Its industrial policy, called "Made in China 2025," envisions the country becoming the global leader in 10 crucial sectors: information technologies; machine tools and robotics; aerospace equipment; rail transport; maritime equipment; new energy vehicles; power equipment; agricultural equipment; new materials; and advanced medical products.

"These sectors will be supported by financing from state-owned (banks and) institutions and protected from open competition," say Dollar and Hass on the website of Fortune magazine.

To get to the top, China also needs advanced know-how. Here's where foreign companies make a bargain with the devil. The Chinese require them to surrender technology in return for the right to invest and sell in China. There are many mechanisms:........

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