On January 15, 2020, President Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signed the much-anticipated “Phase One” trade agreement between the U.S. and China. Set to take effect no later than February 14, 2020, the “Economic and Trade Agreement Between the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China” (the “Agreement”) is the first formal accord concluded between the U.S. and China since the U.S. began imposing tariffs on Chinese imports in July 2018 and China responded in kind, triggering protracted negotiations buffeted by additional rounds of tariffs. In this respect, the Agreement signals a potential easing of trade tensions and renewed confidence in the bilateral economic relationship. The tariff landscape, however, will likely stay intact in the near-term future, and the Agreement may not ameliorate core U.S. concerns about China’s problematic intellectual property practices and China’s state-led economic development model. It remains to be seen how new obligations will be interpreted and enforced, and how the parties’ subsequent negotiations will evolve.
Our full analysis is posted here.