By: Editorial Staff, Date: May 10th, 2022

In an indirect snub to mainland China and expected support of Taiwan, the U.S. federal government made a clear and distinct notice of support to the island country’s trade secrets protections, incorporating the statement in a broader policy statement on fighting online piracy.

Integrated within the 2022 Special 301 Report, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) under Ambassador Katherine Tai reasserted the Biden Administration’s push to emphasize solidarity with Taiwan but doing so without direct saber-rattling. Using economic risk and trade piracy as the forum instead, the USTR lauded Taiwan along with European Union and Chile, in terms of strengthening their trade secret regimes.

When it comes to foreign state efforts to hack, breach, and penetrate company systems, no one will argue that the activity is waning. In fact, ever since the highly publicized hack of Sony, the overall international activity has only increased exponentially, becoming a top target of response by the U.S. federal government.

Taiwan itself has been busy building additional ties and bonds in the economic world as well. The country’s legislature enacted commensurate laws to be in alignment with the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. While not yet a member, the island country is jockeying for inclusion. And the latest notice by the USTR was an external result of work that started in the summer of 2021 when U.S. representatives met with Taiwan to engage on trade secrets protections under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement provisions.

However, it’s not as if the U.S. was entirely an angel player. It has a viable interest in finding a way to reduce the notable amount of online piracy in Taiwan, particularly with movie and television content. And Taiwan wasn’t alone in this regard. Brazil, India and others were also on the same U.S. radar for similar cases.

The above-mentioned signals that China itself continues to be a primary player, so a hedge through Taiwan is seen as a social pressure on the mainland country, adding just another straw on the camel’s back for China to realign itself to world cooperation.

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