Friday, 16 November, 2018

UMC dismisses U.S. charges against it and Fujian Jinhua

Chinese company charged with stealing trade secrets from US chipmaker Trump administration charges Chinese companies with spying on U.S.
Glenn Montgomery | 04 November, 2018, 10:30

China's rampant theft of USA intellectual property is at the core of an ongoing trade dispute between the two nations.

"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.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions accused the companies on Thursday of stealing an estimated $8.75 billion worth of know-how from semiconductor giant Micron.

According to charging documents and Justice Department officials, Chen Zhengkun, a former Micron employee who worked in Taiwan, left the company in July 2015 to join United Microelectronics.

Micron a year ago sued UMC and Jinhua, claiming they stole trade secrets.

This week, the Trump administration imposed restrictions on technology exports to the indicted Chinese company, Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co.

The accused individuals face up to 15 years in prison and $5 million in fines, while the companies could incur up to $20 billion in financial penalties, Sessions added.

USA efforts to counter that espionage are multifaceted, Bowdich said. President Donald Trump has imposed tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese products in an effort to narrow the US trade deficit with China. The FBI, for example, could work with the State Department to revoke a suspect's visa, or with USA companies to root out insider threats, he added.

The action is the latest in a long list taken to fight what some in the Trump administration call China's cheating through intellectual property theft, illegal corporate subsidies and rules hampering USA corporations that want to sell their goods in China.

"We appreciate the U.S. Department of Justice's decision to prosecute the criminal theft of our intellectual property", said Joel Poppen, senior vice president, legal affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary at Micron Technology. Any U.S. companies found to be doing business with the Chinese chip company will face penalties, reports the Register.

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow on the state of Trump administration trade talks with China. It wants to keep working with China without sharing key technologies.

Mr Sessions noted during Thursday's news conference that this was technology that Chinese firms did not have until recently. By some estimates, the cost to the US economy is $30 billion annually. The U.S. has taken an increasingly tough and confrontational stance toward what it characterizes as China's "predatory" economic policies.

"Obviously that commitment has not been met", Sessions said.

On Wednesday, federal prosecutors announced that Chinese intelligence officers and hackers were charged with commercial espionage that included trying to steal information on commercial jet engines.

The US has since restricted visas for Chinese students in the related fields, stepping up export controls of US technology companies and tightening on scrutiny of Chinese investments.

"This initiative is an important set of hammer blows against China's efforts to disadvantage American companies, steal their intellectual property, and exercise unwanted influence in our universities and political system", said James Mulvenon, a China expert and general manager of SOS International LLC's Special Programs Division, which provides consulting services to intelligence and defense agencies.

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