US and China sign Phase One trade deal

The United States and China signed an ‘Economic and Trade Agreement Between the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China’ known as Phase One US-China trade deal. The agreement covers several areas, including intellectual property, technology transfer, trade in food and agriculture products, financial services, macroeconomic policies and currency, expanding trade, and dispute resolution. The agreement is expected to help in de-escalating the ongoing trade war between the two countries. The chapter on intellectual property was deemed especially comprehensive. The parties agreed to criminal enforcement against trade secret theft, including corporate espionage, and to reduce counterfeiting by blocking the online distribution of counterfeit goods and increasing inspections at the border. The chapter on financial services includes commitments to lower barriers to financial services providers such as banks, insurance companies, and electronic payment providers, opening the financial industry to foreign ownership. Provisions on technology transfer state that the parties should refrain from making technology transfer requirements in exchange for market access. Nevertheless, according to critics, the agreement fails to address ‘structural problems in the bilateral trade relationship’, ignores some of the trickiest aspects of the U.S-China trade disputes, such as technology policy, subsidies and state-owned enterprises, and could mean that the world is a step closer to a G2 global order.