U.S. Representative John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat, said he is outraged China's government may force automakers to surrender electric-vehicle technology in return for selling cars in the world's most populous nation.
Such a requirement would violate “the sanctity of the intellectual property laws we hold so dear in the United States,” Dingell said in a statement e-mailed today from his Washington office. The step would violate Chinese obligations as a World Trade Organization member, he said.
China is considering the transfer requirement, which would “damage trade relations between our two nations,” Dingell wrote in a letter to Zhang Yesui, the Chinese ambassador to the United States, citing a Sept. 16 Wall Street Journal story. Dingell's office released the letter today. Dingell has served on the powerful House Committee on Energy and Commerce for years.
Wang Baodong, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, didn't immediately return telephone or e-mail requests for comment.
Automakers including Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors Co. and Shenzen, China-based BYD Co., which is backed by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc., plan to increase output of alternative energy-powered vehicles to meet demand in China, the world's biggest auto market.
China aims to become the world's largest market for renewable-energy vehicles by 2020, according to an Aug. 4 Shanghai Securities News report.