China’s Cyber Espionage Continues, and There’s a Big Cost

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch Digital Media Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing

There’s a whole lot going on in D.C. this week, including the mystery over who exactly wrote that op-ed in The New York Times. You know who might know?


O.K., I kid – but maybe not really.

It’s not a secret that China is engaging in massive cyber espionage against the United States, and a new report from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies highlights some of the consequences.

The findings are astounding. China is responsible for 50 to 80 percent of cross-border intellectual property theft worldwide, and more than 90 percent of all cyber-enabled economic espionage in the United States.

All that cyber theft costs the U.S. economy up to $300 billion annually, according to report author Zach Cooper. The damage adds up to more than just dollars and cents:

“Chinese espionage has not only damaged U.S. companies, but has also helped China save on research and development expenses while catching up in several critical industries… Perhaps most worryingly, China is reversing many of the U.S. military’s technical and industrial advantages and creating potential vulnerabilities should a conflict arise.”

The foundation also notes that China has “demonstrated a willingness to use cyber attacks as a tool of economic coercion to pressure governments and private companies to change their policies.”

Here’s more from the report:

“By advantaging Chinese enterprises at the expense of competitors from the United States and its allies and partners, these attacks cumulatively degrade U.S. national security. This cyber campaign is an integral part of China’s broader security strategy and has undermined both American prosperity and security.”

Cooper further warns that Chinese espionage has “not garnered the public attention warranted by its severity” and writes that a “sustained campaign to demonstrate to Beijing that its malicious cyber activities will impair U.S.-China relations is likely the only way to convince the Chinese Communist party to alter its behavior.”

The report includes a number of recommendations on how best to tackle China espionage, and encourages the Trump administration and Congress to “work together to demonstrate to China that the status quo cannot continue.”

One thing that is very clear: China isn’t going to change unless it feels significant pressure to do so.

Back in 2015, then-President Barack Obama stood alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping at the White House and announced the two nations had reached a deal on cyber issues, agreeing that “neither the U.S. or the Chinese government will conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or confidential business information for commercial advantage.”

At first, it appeared  there was some progress. As Cooper notes, cyber security experts detected fewer cyber intrusions from China in the months after the deal was announced.

But unfortunately, Chinese espionage overall continues – and some even wonder if the Chinese have just gotten better at hiding it, Cooper writes.

And now Donald Trump is president, and he is driving a harder (albeit more chaotic) bargain.

Although The Donald’s trade rhetoric dominates much of the discussion about his relationship with China, it’s important to remember that China’s cyber espionage was among the chief reasons why the United States issued a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods back in June. The Chinese products targeted by that set of tariffs had benefited from intellectual property theft at the expense of American companies, according to the U.S. Trade Representative.

Only time will tell whether Trump’s strategy will work. The tariffs are potentially the best leverage we’ve had with China in years, and there’s growing evidence that China is feeling the pain.

But even those who disagree with Trump’s current trade moves would be wise to remember that unless China faces consequences for its actions, nothing will change. And as this latest report shows us, the United States can no longer afford to ignore this problem.


Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work