BreakingviewsUS-China trade deal augurs modest peace dividend

16-Oct-2019 Intellasia | Reuters | 6:02 AM Print This Post

It’s premature to pop any champagne for a US-China trade deal. President Donald Trump says a partial pact with Beijing includes up to $50 billion in agricultural purchases. Important issues such as intellectual property theft are up in the air, though. And many companies have already started the pricey process of upending their supply chains.

The terms are vague and one-sided. Chinese officials have only acknowledged progress in the talks. Trump, on the other hand, said “Phase One” was the “greatest and biggest deal ever” for American farmers, who were expected to see exports to China fall by about 70 percent this year from more than $20 billion in annual sales during Barack Obama’s administration. He also said he would put on hold higher tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods due to go into effect on Tuesday.

In the meantime, the original rationale has been all but lost. The so-called Section 301 investigation, which allowed the US president to retaliate for unfair trade practices, was based on alleged intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers by China. The Justice Department has pursued related cases involving Boeing, general Electric and DuPont.

Those issues may receive only cursory treatment. Trump said IP matters were part of the first phase but didn’t provide details. Technology transfers will supposedly be resolved later. All the while, the uncertainty has forced companies to alter where they source materials and build things. GoPro, Steve Madden and Hasbro are among the companies moving some production out of China. Apple is considering doing the same.

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with China's Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 4, 2019. (Reuters)

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with China’s Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 4, 2019. (Reuters)



Category: China

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