Beyond Tariffs: What’s Preventing a U.S.-China Trade Agreement?




The U.S. decision on Wednesday to indefinitely postpone its plans to tame China with stiff import tariffs has certainly removed immediate fears of an escalating Sino-U.S. trade war that could be costly for both countries. The move allows breathing space for policy makers and trade negotiators on both sides to revisit the sticking points in the lingering disputes, especially those related to U.S. concerns over protection of intellectual property rights and China requiring U.S. companies to transfer technology if they want to access its domestic market of 1.4 billion.

Although China has recently set up a specialized court in Beijing to deal with intellectual property rights, enforcement remains a key obstacle, and a deeper concern is a cultural disconnect over those rights between businesses in the two countries, according to experts at Wharton and Fordham University.

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