July 9th, 2013
03:08 PM ET

Lew: China cyber theft, Snowden claims different

Fareed speaks with U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew about Chinese cyber theft and future ties. Watch GPS this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET for the full interview.

A lot of Americans look at China and they think this is a country that, the phrase that is often used, is stealing our jobs. What do you say to them?

Look, there are things that are going on in China that are a real problem. I've made this point.  The president, more importantly, has made this point.  You know, the cyber theft of trade secrets is a real form of theft. And it's something that we’ve said has to stop.

The subsidies that are provided to businesses don't provide for a level playing field.  They need to move toward a more market determined, open access in pricing.  You know, it's a competitive world. I remember when, in the 1970s, people were saying the United States was going to be slipping behind Japan. Now, in the last number of years, people have said the same thing with China.

I would just point out that coming out of the recession in ’08 to ’09, the economy that's emerged from the recession strongest is the U.S. economy.  It's shown the durability of our system, our economic system. And, with all this noise, our political system. We’re not going to grow at 7, 8, 9, 10 percent like a developing economy can. But we've seen our economy emerge from the recession with a resilience and a strength that makes it clear that we remain the strongest country and the largest economy in the world. I think that we can compete fairly with any other country.  And that’s all we ask.

Isn't what Snowden revealed very embarrassing for the U.S. government as it tries to get the Chinese to stop their cyber theft?

I think we have to just be very clear that what we're talking about with cyber theft is just different from any of the other cyber security issues that we've talked about. It is just a different kind of activity to be stealing trade secrets and to be using them to gain advantage against a competitor. And we've raised this issue.  I raised it when I was in Beijing a couple of months ago.  The president raised it when he met with President Xi. It’s just a very different issue.

So you're saying if they are doing stuff in terms of national security, intelligence, and we do it, that's a separate issue.  This is about spying on companies for trade secrets?

Look, I think there are issues of cyber security that cut across all boundaries.  And I've had this conversation a number of times with my Chinese counterparts. We all face risks in the world.  There are all kinds of reasons that governments collect information, on a variety of topics. It is not the accepted practice for a country to steal trade secrets from another country.

For the two largest economies in the world, this has to be the kind of thing we can talk to each other about openly. China wants to sit at the table as one of the leading economies of the world.  They are one of the two large economies of the world.  And we welcome that. But this is the kind of issue we have to work our way through.

Do you think this new leadership is more responsive on these issues?

I think they understand that this is an important issue that has to be dealt with.  We've opened the channel for discussion on this issue.  And I'm certainly hopeful we will make progress.

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Topics: China • Economy • United States

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Joseph McCarthy

    The right-wing thugs lied to us so much that anything they say now has little credibility. We've been using this technology on China and every other country for decades on end and at part of our military technology was obtained in this manner. We need to talk about it with the Chinese.

    July 9, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Reply
  2. 100 % ETHIO

    What is...the problem(s)?

    This accusation will make China to remained more secretive and assertive.

    And also, other Countries will judge US, in different ways.

    However, it Is better to come-up with full evidences of the 'Trade Secret Accusations'"
    Otherwise, it is difficult.

    July 9, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Reply
  3. matslats

    [Cough cough] We're out of recesssion?
    What about the US engaging in Cyber warfare with the rest of the world.
    The pentagon even announced that this kind of activity can be considered an act of war.
    We developed Stuxnet against Iran.
    We spy on China
    We spy on Europeean countries and diplomats.
    Jack Lew and CNN are spewing blatant propaganda. Makes no sense, has no perspective.

    July 10, 2013 at 3:19 am | Reply
  4. j. von hettlingen

    Snowden wasn't even rewarded by China for the secrets he revealed. It just shows what an idiot he has been!

    July 10, 2013 at 4:36 am | Reply
    • Maersk

      How is he an idiot, did you get paid for your kwok zucking service from your uncle?

      July 10, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Reply
    • Feifei

      what do you mean...not rewarded? Instead of sending him back, China let him go...

      July 10, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Reply
  5. Friedrich

    In Europe we do not think that the % economy growth rate matters that much, if you do not have well managed companies that produce high-quality marketable products. USA has not that many corporations, only a few, GM, Ford, Chrysler, Motorola, ... and they are not very successful, not very big. We in Europe have many more, such as Renault, Citroen, Peugeot, France Telecom, Alcatel, Fiat, Iveco, Italia Telecom, Volvo, Scania, Land Rover, Ferrari, Range Rover, Bang Olufsen, Philips, ... and many more. Cooperating with China is not the right strategy, not the right move., because USA is losing jobs, credibility, face and cannot win against the big Asians. But please first, to change the strategy, clean up your house in Washington DC.

    July 10, 2013 at 6:02 am | Reply
  6. rightospeak

    Propaganda and nonsense .

    July 10, 2013 at 7:44 am | Reply
    • Maersk

      What do you expect from a kwok zucking kwok zucker?

      July 10, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Reply
  7. Joseph McCarthy

    Tell me Jack Lew, if our economy is doing so well as you say, then why are so many people still out of work? However, our economy would do far better if we'd only cut the military spending and pull out of all these useless and unnecessary wars that we're in.

    July 10, 2013 at 9:05 am | Reply
  8. Suck_lew

    Lew : When US do it, it;s information collection, when China do it, it's theft. When we do it, it's acceptable, when China do it, it's unacceptable. Not sure Americans are OK if China collection information on them for a various kind of reasons. lol
    Why Obama appoint such a idiot?

    July 10, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Reply
  9. Really?

    LOL, HYPOCRITES TO THE Nth DEGREE!!! America is doomed from people in lead like this.

    July 11, 2013 at 10:25 am | Reply

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