Schumer presses Froman to file trade case against China over cyber spying

 

A top Senate Democrat called on U.S. Trade Representative Michael FromanMichael B.G. FromanOn The Money: Sanders unveils plan to wipe .6T in student debt | How Sanders plan plays in rivalry with Warren | Treasury watchdog to probe delay of Harriet Tubman bills | Trump says Fed 'blew it' on rate decision Democrats give Trump trade chief high marks US trade rep spent nearly M to furnish offices: report MORE to file a case against China over its cyber spying.

Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTop Democrats demand security assessment of Trump properties Lawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Trump administration denies temporary immigrant status to Venezuelans in US MORE (N.Y.) urged Froman on Thursday to file a case against Beijing at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in response to cyberattacks on U.S. businesses.

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"The sanctioning of these attacks, in which Chinese military officials have illegally gathered corporate information from members of the U.S. solar, nuclear and metal industries is a threat not just to these specific companies, but to our entire economy," Schumer wrote.

On Monday, the Justice Department issued criminal indictments on five members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army for online theft of trade secrets from U.S. firms.

"The Obama Administration has been vigilant in enforcing the trade rights of American businesses, farmers and workers, including with respect to China," a USTR spokesman told The Hill.

"We will continue to explore all avenues to ensure that we hold China to account for trade agreement violations."

Schumer said that since China won't extradite those involved to go on trial here, U.S. government officials have to seek damages through a WTO suit.

"Cyber-attacks from China and other nations could prove crippling to American businesses in the years to come, so we need real teeth in our response,” Schumer said.

"DOJ did the right thing in filing these indictments, but the only way to really punish China for these outrageous attacks is through the WTO."

In the letter, Schumer notes that the agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) contained in the WTO requires each participating nation to protect trade secrets.

He said the United States has to show that this type of "behavior is unacceptable and will have serious consequences."

This story was updated at 10:05 p.m.