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“Phase One” US-China Trade Deal Is Encouraging on IP and Tech Transfer, But Remaining Issues Will Require Allied Effort, Says ITIF

January 15, 2020

WASHINGTON—Following today’s signing of a “phase one” trade deal between the United States and China, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the leading think tank for science and technology policy, issued the following statement from ITIF President Robert D. Atkinson:

Today’s “phase one” agreement represents good progress toward curbing the systemic problems of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers in China. The Trump administration is to be commended for going further than its predecessors on those fronts. But some of the thorniest issues confronting innovation-driven industries are still on the table, including the lavish industrial subsidies China showers on its companies, including its state-owned enterprises.

The challenge now will be to effectively enforce these phase one provisions while making real headway on the issues that are still outstanding. China has shown itself to be a master of obfuscation when it comes to living up to its agreements—and there are limits to how much pressure the United States can bring to bear on its own. That’s why it was so encouraging earlier this week when the trade ministers of the United States, the European Union, and Japan signalled they will be ramping up pressure in a strong, coordinated partnership. That will be the most viable way to finally roll back the aggressive mercantilist agenda China uses to gain advantage in industries powered by innovation and advanced technologies.


The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute focusing on the intersection of technological innovation and public policy. Recognized by its peers in the think tank community as the global center of excellence for science and technology policy, ITIF’s mission is to formulate and promote policy solutions that accelerate innovation and boost productivity to spur growth, opportunity, and progress.

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