Representatives of the U.S. and Chinese governments are set to meet this week in Washington, D.C., to discuss a range of issues.
According to a recent Voice of America report, two topics are expected to receive particular attention during the talks - China's limiting of market access to foreign companies and the country's allegedly lax enforcement of intellectual property rights.
The issue of intellectual property has been a source of tension between the two countries for many years. Michael Schlesinger, counsel to the Intellectual Property Alliance, told the Voice of America software piracy in China costs U.S. companies billions of dollars every year.
Schlesinger noted that China's commitments to curtail intellectual property theft date back to 2004. Nevertheless, "the value of unlicensed software use in China more than doubled from $3.6 billion in 2004 to $7.6 billion in 2009," he said.
Schlesinger claimed that the unlawful use of software is not just damaging to the companies that produce the software. In addition, he claimed, it affects firms that pay for the software that they use, since they incur an additional expense, making it more difficult for them to price their products competitively.