U.S. sees "coordinated" foreign strategy to acquire U.S. technology

Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:41pm EST
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. intelligence community is warning that "one or more foreign governments" appear to have a "coordinated strategy" to acquire valuable American technology by buying U.S. firms, a U.S. government body said in an annual report.

The finding was mentioned in the public version of an annual report to Congress by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, an interagency body that reviews foreign investment for potential national security concerns.

One investment now before the committee is Chinese state-owned CNOOC's purchase of Canadian energy producer Nexen Inc. Ottawa has approved the deal, but CFIUS is reviewing whether to allow CNOOC to acquire Nexen's oilfields in the Gulf of Mexico.

The report, issued on Thursday, said the U.S. intelligence community "judges with moderate confidence that there is likely a coordinated strategy among one or more foreign governments or companies to acquire U.S. companies involved in research, development, or production of critical technologies for which the United States is a leading producer."

The public version did not identify any particular country but said information supporting the intelligence community's assessment was provided in the classified version of the report that was sent to Congress.

U.S. government officials have publicly complained about Chinese government policies that pressure American companies to transfer valuable technologies to do business in China.

That issue was on the agenda for high-level U.S.-China talks this week in Washington, with the United States welcoming a new Chinese pledge not to make technology transfer a condition for market access.

The U.S. business community has also complained about growing theft of U.S. trade secrets by Chinese companies, often by means of sophisticated cyberattacks.

The United States and China also agreed this week to hold technical talks next year on cybersecurity.   Continued...