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China's weak IP protection hampers foreign investment, says US secretary of commerce

US secretary of commerce Penny Pritzker told Chinese premier Li Keqiang that China needs stronger intellectual property laws, and implementation of those laws, to boost foreign investment, the Financial Times reported.22 Apr 2015

Pritzker visited China as part of a delegation of clean tech companies, the Financial Times said.

"The real conversation needs to be not just about the laws on the books but also about the court system and the broad and consistent application of these rules," she said, according to the Financial Times.

Concerns about the Chinese legal system and the security of intellectual property are a barrier to foreign companies looking at the Chinese market, Pritzker said.

China opened an intellectual property rights (IPR) court in the city of Guangzhou, in southern China’s Guangdong province, in December 2014, the second in the country. The first was set up in Beijing in November 2014, and a third opened in Shanghai in January, according to ECNS, the English-language website of China News Service (CNS).

The World Trade Organisation, in its fifth 'Trade Policy Review' of China (200-page / 1.37 MB PDF) in 2014, called on China to address “shortcomings”, including a commitment to publish "in a single official journal" all laws, regulations and other measures related to or affecting trade in goods, services, intellectual property rights or foreign exchange, and to make them available in one of the WTO’s three official languages of English, French and Spanish.