Water Vortex. (Courtesy Creative Commons)
That phrase is of course associated with presidential candidate Ross Perot and what he believed would be the massive loss of jobs to Mexico after the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Now it may best summarize the emerging view of congressional leaders about China and intellectual property.
Last week, in his opening statement, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers called out Chinese economic cyber espionage: “A massive and sustained intelligence effort by a government to blatantly steal commercial data and intellectual property.” As Ellen Nakashima pointed out in the Washington Post, that Chinese hackers are behind the massive theft of intellectual property is widely assumed. People just don’t say it so directly very often.
At almost the same time, Senator Jim Webb was introducing legislation that is supposed to stop the transfer of technology funded by the U.S. government to China and other countries that “by law, practice, or policy require proprietary technology transfers as a matter of doing business.” These transfers, in Webb’s view, “clearly and unequivocally place the competitive advantage of the American economy at risk.” In his statement, Webb offered the specific examples of Westinghouse and third generation nuclear reactors; General Electric and avionics; and Ford and electric vehicles.
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