China challenges United States to provide 'evidence' in trade secrets case

Chinese company charged with stealing trade secrets from US chipmaker

In addition to the criminal case, the Justice Department filed a civil lawsuit seeking to prevent the two accused companies from exporting any products created using the trade secrets and blocking the further transfer of trade secrets.

"I am announcing that a grand jury in San Francisco has returned a multi-defendant indictment alleging economic espionage on the part of a state-owned Chinese company, a Taiwanese company, and three Taiwan individuals for an alleged scheme to steal trade secrets from Micron, an Idaho-based semiconductor company", Sessions said.

Led by Assistant Attorney General John Demers and staffed by senior DOJ officials, the new initiative will work to combat various forms of Chinese economic espionage, including the targeting of US centers of ingenuity like universities, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement with comments published on the US Justice Department's website.

The indictment identified the Chinese company as the Taiwan semiconductor manufacturer United Microelectronics Corporation, and the Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit, Co., Ltd, the state-owned company. A group of USA attorneys and an Federal Bureau of Investigation representative will "identify priority Chinese trade theft cases, ensure that we have enough resources dedicated to them, and make sure that we bring them to an appropriate conclusion quickly and effectively", Sessions said.

If convicted, the defendants face up to 14 years in prison and $5 million in fines.

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Congress in August passed the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act to expand the government's power to review investments from foreign countries - a response to China's efforts to obtain US technology through mergers, acquisitions and takeovers.

The announcement will be coupled with the unsealing of a criminal case in California involving the theft of trade secrets from a US company, the official said.

It said they conspired to steal US-based Micron's advanced designs to turn Fujian Jinhua into a major player in the global computer chip market.

The prosecution comes amid heightened trade tensions and as American officials raise alarms about Chinese economic espionage.

But since 2017, three people have been charged with spying for China or attempting to spy for China.

The technology at issue, known as dynamic random-access memory, is something that the Chinese government had identified as an important priority because its own companies could not develop such advanced capabilities and had to rely on companies outside of China. Any U.S. companies found to be doing business with the Chinese chip company will face penalties, reports the Register.

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At least six countries, including Malaysia, the United States and Switzerland, have been investigating alleged thefts from 1MDB. Najib chaired its advisory board and as finance minister held veto power over its activities.

As both countries place greater emphasis on competition and security, the big question, analysts say, is whether the two governments can maintain commercial engagement despite increasing tensions over the quest for technological supremacy.

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow on the state of Trump administration trade talks with China. This week the Commerce Department it had put Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit on a list of entities that can not buy components, software, and technology goods from US firms.

The launch of the China initiative followed three cases of Chinese economic espionage announced by the Justice Department since September.

The criminal case is USA v.

"China is back as the most prolific nation-state actor conducting industrial espionage via cyber and non-cyber means", he said. The U.S. has taken an increasingly tough and confrontational stance toward what it characterizes as China's "predatory" economic policies.

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