Chinese scientist admits stealing trade secrets in US

Mr Huang has admitted to stealing secrets about a new food product being developed by Cargill

19 October 2011 Last updated at 04:41

A Chinese scientist, Kexue Huang, has admitted to stealing trade secrets from two US firms and sending them to China and Germany.

Mr Huang has been charged with economic espionage for stealing secrets on a pesticide and a new food product being developed.

The case is the latest in a series of similar allegations about trade secrets being handed to Chinese companies.

Mr Huang was born in China but holds a permanent resident status in the US.

He has pleaded guilty to stealing secrets from Dow AgroSciences a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company and Cargill Inc while working for them. He faces a maximum prison sentence of 25 years.

“Huang used his insider status at two of America’s largest agricultural companies to steal valuable trade secrets for use in his native China,” said Lanny Breur, assistant attorney general for the US Department of Justice.

‘Continuing threat’

There have been growing concerns about trade secrets of US companies being handed over to competitors in China.

Earlier this year, a Chinese engineer was found guilty of stealing secrets from Ford Motors to try and get a job with Chinese car manufacturers.

Last year, another couple was charged with trying to sell secrets about General Motors’s hybrid vehicles to China’s Chery Automobile Company.

Business have raised concerns about these issues saying that not only do such moves hand sensitive information to competitors, they also given them an unfair advantage by saving them millions of dollars in research and development costs.

“Today’s plea underscores the continuing threat posed by the theft of business secrets for the benefit of China and other nations,” said Lisa Monaco, assistant attorney general for the US Department of Justice’s national security division.

Meanwhile, Dow AgroSciences said the company will use all means possible to protect their secrets.

“We are prepared to exhaust all legal means at our disposal to ensure that our intellectual property rights are protected,” the firm said.

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