Chinese Piracy is altering the balance of power on our planet. After years of hand wringing in Washington and a complete lack of action on the part of successive administrations, the Trump administration is challenging this practice for the first time, and the trade war with China just got even more heated.
A few days ago Sabrina Meng Wangzhou, the Chief Financial Officer of Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications company, was arrested in Canada at the request of American authorities. She is now pending extradition to the United States to face criminal charges. You may have heard of this arrest, but you are almost certainly not aware of its true significance. This is likely the single most important development in the ongoing trade war to date – a truly game changing event.
First, Huawei is a very large Chinese corporation. It is the number two maker of cellphones in the world and manufactures and sells a whole array of telecommunications equipment all over the world, including the United States. It, like most major Chinese corporations, has direct ties to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, which still very much controls China.
Second, let’s consider the scope of Chinese piracy of intellectual property. Probably not since the days of buccaneers on the Spanish main, stealing gold and silver from Spanish gallons have we seen piracy practiced on such a scale as a matter of national policy.
Queen Elizabeth the First of England in the 1500s made it a matter of English national policy to loot Spanish gallons. They stole so much gold and silver from the Spaniards that they ultimately altered the the balance of power on the planet. That is scale on which the Chinese are stealing intellectual property from American and other Western companies. They have put American corporations completely out of business. They have stolen massive amounts of market share from others. We have watched, fretted and let it continue.
Donald Trump has put this front and center in the ongoing trade talks. He has served notice that the Chinese are going to have change their practices or face the consequences. For the first time we have done something more than complain.
And now, through the arrest of Huawei’s CFO, he is in effect serving notice that the Chinese will either take him seriously or we will burn a major Chinese corporation to the ground.
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