An Innovation Arms Race?
It used to be that the United States was the innovator, China the cheap producer. But now, as innovation has followed manufacturing and production overseas, America is faced with a whole new breed of competition from China: competition in technological innovation.
China says there's nothing threatening in its efforts: It simply wants to modernize. Developing homegrown technology is better than continuing to pay stiff royalty fees for foreign inventions, the Chinese ministries say. As for "re-innovating" or "assimilating" foreign technology, that's no different from what Japan and Western countries did when they industrialized, they add.
U.S. companies don't see it that way. They worry, for example, that China's new approval process is holding up products at the border as technicians examine designs with the intent of doing a little early "assimilating."
So, there is legitimate worry among U.S. innovators that intellectual property rights are being violated, giving China the eventual upper-hand in both production and innovation.
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