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Intellectual property protections to feature in new U.S.-China trade deal

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Jan 13, 2020
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Mark Schiefelbein/AFP via Getty Images

Intellectual property protections to feature in new U.S.-China trade deal

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Jan 13, 2020
Mark Schiefelbein/AFP via Getty Images
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A high-level delegation from China will be in Washington this week to sign “Phase One” of a new U.S.-China trade deal.

The Trump administration has said the agreement includes “structural reforms” to protect U.S. intellectual property. But the U.S. and China made separate announcements on deal.

Washington was vague. Claire Reade, a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said there was a little more detail from Beijing, including promises about “strengthening trade secret protection, working on and improving pharmaceutical-related intellectual property issues.”

U.S. companies say China steals their trade secrets and ignores violations of U.S. trademarks — like in the case of Chinese knockoffs of sneakers or handbags, ordered online. Jennifer Hillman, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said it’ll be very hard to enforce whatever China has agreed to in this regard.

“Many, many things that are coming in as trademark-infringing items come in a single envelope, you know, shipped through China Post,” Hillman said.

And how to stop cyber thieves who steal trade secrets? Hillman said talk is cheap. Effective enforcement is hard — maybe even impossible.

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