By: Didi Kirsten Tatlow

What is the kernel of the issue?

Since 2018, the US Department of Justice has operated a “China Initiative” that directly addresses systemic economic espionage and trade secret theft by China against the United States. No such initiative exists in Europe, despite the same malign Chinese activities taking place there.   

Why is the issue important?

Chinese economic and industrial espionage in Europe is damaging to the European economy, to democracy and to transatlantic security, and Chinese espionage there has implications for US security and supply chains as well. The lack of concerted focus on the issue in Europe creates an easier operating environment for Chinese spies, thus weakening transatlantic security. 

What is the recommendation?

The Biden administration should instruct the FBI and Department of Justice to work with its counterpart agencies and ministries in Europe to build out similar initiatives designed to clamp down on Chinese economic and other espionage. This work should be carried out at nation-state level and coordinated with the EU.