News / USA

White House Unveils New Strategy Against Trade Secret Thefts

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks about strategy to mitigate the theft of U.S. trade secrets, Feb. 20, 2013.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks about strategy to mitigate the theft of U.S. trade secrets, Feb. 20, 2013.
The Obama administration has unveiled a new strategy to help protect American companies from economic espionage and thefts of trade secrets, an issue linked to intensified concerns about cyber espionage.

Trade secret theft and intensifying cyber attacks targeting U.S. industrial and technological sectors are closely intertwined.  President Obama says they threaten the U.S. economy and national security.

U.S. companies are estimated to have lost at least $300 billion last year according to a recent congressional committee report.

High level meetings at the White House and across the government led to Wednesday's announcement by Attorney General Eric Holder and other officials of a dramatic escalation against economic espionage.

Holder said the stakes have never been higher.

"In some industries, a single trade secret can be worth millions - or even billions - of dollars.  Trade secret theft can require companies to lay off employees, close factories, to lose sales and profits, to experience a decline in competitive position and advantage, or even to go out of business.  And this type of crime can have significant impacts not only on our country’s economic well-being, but on our national security as well," Holder said.

Holder said national security impacts include hostile states obtaining data that can endanger American lives, expose energy, financial and other sensitive sectors to massive losses, and leave infrastructure open to attack.

The new strategy aims to increase U.S. engagement and coordination with countries where there are high levels of trade secret thefts; step up information sharing with private companies; and intensify law enforcement and intelligence efforts.

Domestic legislation would be reviewed to improve enforcement, and a public awareness campaign would be intensified about the effects of trade secret theft.

Victoria Espinel is the White House Coordinator for Intellectual Property Enforcement.

"Our status as a global innovation leader is compromised by those countries who fail to enforce the rule of law or international agreements or who adopt policies that disadvantage American companies and American workers including encouraging or tolerating the theft of U.S. trade secrets," Espinel said.

Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs Robert Hormats referred to some governments or companies "gaming the system" and pursuing "downright illegal" policies to gain competitive advantage.

Protection of intellectual property and trade secrets, he said, remains "a serious and highly troubling issue," one raised consistently at a high level with China.

"Our message is actually quite clear.  The protection of intellectual property rights and trade secrets is critical to all rights holders, whether they be from the United States or whether they are for Chinese companies as well or for other companies around the world," Hormats said.

In 2012, President Obama announced establishment of a new enforcement office to challenge unfavorable trade policies, including intellectual property violations and subsidies to favored industries.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says President Obama is very concerned about all threats to the U.S. economy and national security.

"It is something that is very much on the president's mind.  It is why the president has urged Congress to act appropriately on cyber security legislation and why again today we are calling on Congress to act," Carney said.

Carney said an executive order President Obama signed to bolster defenses in crucial American industries against cyber crime needs to be followed by new congressional legislation.

Cyber security threats were thrust back into the headlines after a Virginia-based cyber security firm (Mandiant) released a report linking attacks to a unit of China's military.  

China denied allegations of any high level involvement.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs