May 14, 2021

Van Hollen, Sasse Announce Inclusion of their Bipartisan Proposal to Curb IP Theft in Banking Amendment to China Competition Bill

Today, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) announced the inclusion of their bipartisan Protecting American Intellectual Property Act – legislation to mandate strong economic penalties on firms and individuals involved in stealing American intellectual property – within the Banking Committee’s Meeting the China Challenge Act of 2021. Committee leadership has announced they will work to include this amendment in the China competition bill, the Endless Frontier Act, which is scheduled to come to the Senate floor in the coming days.

“We know foreign companies around the world, and especially many in China, are working overtime to steal U.S. technology – damaging our economy, harming U.S. job creation, and threatening our national security in the process. To deter these bad actors, we must draw a line in the sand and put forward clear consequences for their actions – our bill does just that. I’m glad to see the Banking Committee include our legislation within this must-pass package to improve our competitive edge against China, and I’ll continue working to see it through,” said Senator Van Hollen, who is also an original cosponsor of the Endless Frontier Act and a member of the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

“Chairman Xi and the Chinese Communist Party are going to keep trying to steal American IP. They’re trying to hack their way to global dominance by stealing American ingenuity. We’ve drafted smart, bipartisan policy to use our economic tools to help fight back,” said Senator Sasse.

Background on the Protecting American Intellectual Property Act, which was included in the Banking Committee amendment in its entirety, is below:

The Protecting American Intellectual Property Act requires a report to Congress within six months, and annually thereafter, identifying:

·       Any individual or firm that has engaged in, benefitted from, or provided support for the significant theft of U.S. trade secrets, if that theft constitutes a major threat to the national security, foreign policy, economic health, or financial stability of the United States; and,

·       The chief executive officers and board members of the reported firms and whether those individuals have benefitted from the significant theft of U.S. trade secrets.

Subsequently, the bill requires:

·       For any firm identified in the report to Congress, the President must impose at least five sanctions from a comprehensive menu consistent with the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. Among others, the menu includes property blocking sanctions, export prohibitions, the prohibition of loans from U.S. and international financial institutions, procurement sanctions, and prohibition of banking transactions.

·       For any individual identified in the report to Congress, the President must impose property blocking sanctions and must prohibit the individual’s entry into the United States.

The economic penalties imposed terminate if the President certifies to Congress that the individual or firm is no longer engaged in the sanctionable behavior. The legislation also includes a national interest waiver.

The text of the Protecting American Intellectual Property Act is available here