DOJ Launches China-Focused Criminal Enforcement Initiative

The new "China Initiative" is intended to respond to perceived U.S. national security threats from China.

The U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") has announced a new criminal enforcement initiative that targets China, with the stated goal of using criminal enforcement tools to counter alleged Chinese trade policies. To help implement the new "China Initiative," DOJ created a working group of federal prosecutors from five U.S. Attorney's Offices to work together with DOJ's National Security Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. We expect the initiative will lead to an increase in the number of active investigations and prosecutions of Chinese companies and executives for a wide range of economic conduct. DOJ is specifically focused on bringing trade secret theft cases, foreign agent registration cases, and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA") cases. In particular, DOJ stated that it is trying to identify FCPA cases "involving Chinese companies that compete with American businesses."

DOJ's China Initiative comes at a time of increasing tensions between the United States and China over trade and other issues. Given the increased scrutiny, Chinese companies and executives should be mindful of compliance policies and remain vigilant when conducting any business that could trigger U.S. jurisdiction.

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