WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio announced legislation on Thursday that would bar the sale of “sensitive” technology to China and hike some duties and taxes, in the latest move by U.S. lawmakers to clamp down on what they regard as Beijing’s efforts to steal U.S. intellectual property.
Rubio, a Republican member of the Foreign Relations Committee, unveiled the “Fair Trade with China Enforcement Act,” which among other things would bar the sale of national security sensitive technology and intellectual property, and increase taxes on multinational corporations’ income from China.
It would also prepare duties on, and cap Chinese investor shareholding in U.S. companies producing goods targeted by China’s “Made in China 2025” initiative to catch up with rivals like the United States and Germany in industries such as robotics, aerospace and clean-energy cars.
“How America responds to the growing threats posed by China is the single most important geopolitical issue of our time, and will define the 21st century,” Rubio said in a statement introducing the bill.
The legislation would bar the U.S. government or contractors from purchasing telecommunications equipment or services Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp., Chinese companies that are among the world’s major telecommunications equipment manufacturers.
Members of the U.S. Congress and President Donald Trump’s administration have pressured U.S. companies to not sell Huawei or ZTE products, saying they could be used to spy on Americans.
The two companies have denied such allegations.