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Bipartisan lawmakers urge Trump to oppose Chinese nominee to lead intellectual property body

Bipartisan lawmakers urge Trump to oppose Chinese nominee to lead intellectual property body
© Greg Nash

Four bipartisan lawmakers on Monday urged President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills MORE to oppose China's bid to lead the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) at the United Nations, alleging that China's own infractions could threaten intellectual property rights and the U.S. economy.

The Chinese Communist Party last month nominated a candidate to head the WIPO, which sets international standards for copyrights and patents, a move seen as a bid to shape the body.

"Given China’s persistent violations of intellectual property protections, including through trade secret theft, corporate espionage, and forced transfer of technology, the United States and its allies must stand firmly against such a move," Sens. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHillicon Valley: Biden signs order on chips | Hearing on media misinformation | Facebook's deal with Australia | CIA nominee on SolarWinds House Rules release new text of COVID-19 relief bill Budowsky: Cruz goes to Cancun, AOC goes to Texas MORE (D-N.Y.) and Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonRomney-Cotton, a Cancun cabbie and the minimum wage debate On The Money: Schumer urges Democrats to stick together on .9T bill | Collins rules out GOP support for Biden relief plan | Powell fights inflation fears Biden health nominee faces first Senate test MORE (R-Ark.) and Reps. Jimmy PanettaJames Varni PanettaLawmakers want Pentagon, DOJ to punish current, former military members who participated in riot Capitol riots spark fear of Trump's military powers in final days Americans want to serve — it's up to us to give them the chance MORE (D-Calif.) and Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherLawmakers to roll out legislation reorganizing State cyber office House Republicans gear up for conference meeting amid party civil war Back to the future: America must renew its commitment to scientific inquiry MORE (R-Wis.) wrote in Monday's letter to Trump.

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"We cannot let a regime, which continues to blatantly undermine the rules-based system by failing to ensure open markets or respect for intellectual property rights, ascend as the leader of global intellectual property policy."

The lawmakers asked Trump to both oppose the Chinese nominee and "take the necessary diplomatic steps to ensure our allies and partners do the same before the Director General election next spring."

They noted that Trump himself has accused China of intellectual property theft and cited the U.S. trade representative declaring China a “precarious and uncertain environment” for American intellectual property owners.

The letter adds that Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei was the top filer of international patent applications to the WIPO last year. Huawei was added to a blacklist by the Trump administration earlier this year over national security concerns related to the company's close ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

The request for Trump to oppose China's pick to head the WIPO comes a week after the two parties announced that they had reached a "phase one" trade deal after months of escalating tariffs.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerBob LighthizerWhiskey, workers and friends caught in the trade dispute crossfire GOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be 'huge mistake' Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 MORE said last week that as part of the negotiations the U.S. extracted concessions on intellectual property.

It is not immediately clear what those concessions will look like in action.