The European Union challenged today in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) the systemic practices that force European companies to give up sensitive technology and know-how as a precondition for doing business in China.
This legal action builds up on a case launched by the EU in June 2018. With this move, the EU significantly broadens and deepens the scope of its WTO action against Chinese measures on forced technology transfers. This step is taken in the light of additional findings concerning the incompatibility of the Chinese measures on the approval of investments and the protection of foreign companies’ intellectual property rights with the agreed multilateral rules. Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: “We cannot tolerate that EU companies have to give away valuable technology as a price to pay for investing in China. This clearly goes against the rules that China committed itself to when it joined the WTO. Today, we launch a broader and more systemic legal challenge against this illegal practice, as we believe that it is a major issue affecting European companies doing business in China. This is a matter that can and should be solved within the international, multilateral framework.” The measures challenged today come on top of what the EU had covered in its initial legal action triggered in June 2018. For more information, see EU new and previous consultation requests, as well as the full press release.