Tuesday, March 13, 2018

It's Getting Worse: Trump to Unload on China

President Donald Trump is getting ready to crack down on China, reports Politico.

Trump told Cabinet secretaries and top advisers during a meeting at the White House last week that he wanted to soon hit China with steep tariffs and investment restrictions.

During the meeting, which hasn’t been previously been reported, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer presented Trump with a package of tariffs that would target the equivalent of $30 billion a year in Chinese imports. In response, according to Politico, Trump urged Lighthizer to aim for an even bigger number.

Aides said the administration is considering tariffs on more than 100 Chinese products ranging from electronics and telecommunications equipment to furniture and toys.

Those tariffs are expected to be rolled out as soon as next week.

The Trump Administration is using the cover of alleged Chinese intellectual property theft as justification for the tariffs.

However, it is difficult to understand why you would punish American furniture and toy consumers because of Chinese IP theft that has nothing to do with furniture or toys. This all part of Trump's nationalist state vs state battle perspective.

I am all for respect for IP but if a company can't protect its IP in some foreign lands, it's that company's problem not the problem of toy buyers.

IP is sometimes difficult to protect and you just have to figure out ways around the theft.

-Robert Wenzel 


  1. Suppose you want to manufacture in China. Their rule is you must partner with a State owned firm and it must have 51% control. After a few years that firm has all the IP, exits the arrangement, no other firm will step in to replace it, and since you don't have a local partner you have to close down your investment.

  2. Well, technically he’s going to unload on Americans who buy things from China.

  3. How can you have "IP theft"? When someone copies your "intellectual property" you still have it.

    1. Sorry, NAPster, you do not get an answer to that question. You can ask it all day and in many rhetorical forms, but the pro-IP thinkers will never answer it. That imitation is theft is the baserock of their entire argument. Since that is obviously false, their only option is to never, ever defend it but rather to just keep assuming and implying it.

    2. Suppose I sell you a manufacturing secret with the condition you may not sell or reveal it.

    3. @PH

      While such an agreement is not unimaginable, it couldn’t bind 3rd parties.

    4. PH, the issue with IP legislation is that it is not aimed at voluntary agreements between two individuals as in your example. It involves using the force of the state to prevent a third party from using his own private property (his body or objects he owns) to make use of information or data that someone else has developed. There is no theft in that third party doing this, because the party who developed the information/data still has it. There is no trespass either, as the third party is using his own property to produce whatever he produces.

    5. PH,

      Your example is one involving contract law, not IP law. What the pro-IP side is arguing is that if you show others a better mousetrap, you then get to pull guns on them and stop them from building it.

      Their fundamental argument is that to be first is to be only; that to originate an activity is to own an activity. More fundamentally, they confuse pattern with matter. They think they can own a pattern - or an arrangement.

      There is no difficulty in performing a reductio ad absurdum on their position, but it is redundant, as Brand Blanshard once wrote, when the position starts out absurd.