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It has been publicly reported that discussions are underway within the Trump Administration for a coordinated interagency initiative to remove key industrial supply chain dependencies from overseas, especially China, and redouble efforts to secure such supply chains in the United States. While this initiative proceeds alongside ongoing efforts to secure supply chains in sectors such

Tim Stratford delivered this testimony before the the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means February 26, 2020:

Chairman Neal, Ranking Member Brady, and distinguished members of this committee, thank you for the opportunity to share my assessment of the U.S.-China economic relationship following conclusion of the Phase One trade agreement between our two countries.

Over the past 38 years I have devoted my career to promoting fair and beneficial trade relations between the United States and China, because it’s seemed to me that getting this relationship right is one of the most consequential tasks and challenges of our time. I have done this as a lawyer, U.S. diplomat, general counsel of a major American company’s operations in China, and as three term chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China. As a former U.S. trade negotiator, I salute the extraordinary efforts of our negotiators today and understand the daunting challenges they face.

I would like first to discuss the trade policy issues that have negatively impacted this incredibly important relationship, and the extent to which they are addressed in the Phase One agreement. I would then like to discuss the agreement’s place within the context of the overall U.S.-China economic relationship, which is increasingly defined by competition and increasingly inseparable from national security considerations. Finally, I would like to offer some thoughts on lessons learned, as well as on U.S. objectives over the coming months and years and possible approaches for achieving them.

Issues in the U.S.-China Trade Relationship

As I see it, U.S. trade negotiators have confronted three types of issues with China, with the three types listed below in ascending order of difficulty and criticality:


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On December 1, during a working dinner meeting in Buenos Aires following the G20 Summit, U.S. President Donald J. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to temporarily ease trade tensions as both sides continue negotiating over longer-term solutions to U.S. concerns about bilateral economic relations.

According to a White House press release, for

On May 24, 2018, China filled the top positions at the State Bureau of Film (Film Bureau) and State Administration of Press and Publication (SAPP). Both appointments fill vacancies created by the dismantling of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) and continue apparent Communist Party of China (CPC) efforts to

In the wake of the Chinese Communist Party’s 19th Party Congress, and US President Donald Trump’s visit to China, the Ministry of Finance has announced a high-level roadmap for broadening market access for foreign investors in the financial services industry. This policy development, long under discussion, is part of an effort by the Chinese

United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) Robert E. Lighthizer launched an investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 (“Section 301”) into acts, policies, and practices of the Chinese government as they relate to “technology transfer, intellectual property [IP], and innovation.” The August 18 announcement of the investigation came just days after President Donald

For years, the foreign business community has called for greater transparency and opportunities to provide more input into China’s legislative and regulatory rule-making processes. In a small step forward, on July 19, the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council (“SCLAO”) released draft revisions to the Regulations on Procedures for Formulating Administrative Regulations (“Draft Revisions”)

An updated version of China’s Catalogue of Industries for Guiding Foreign Investment (“Foreign Investment Catalogue,” or “Catalogue”) went into effect on July 28. The Catalogue has been a key tool used by Chinese policymakers to coordinate foreign investment with the country’s economic development plans and industrial policies. Its categorizations are an important factor in determining

China has put into effect an updated “negative list” for foreign investment in the country’s pilot free trade zones (“FTZs”). Officially named the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) Foreign Investment Entry Special Administrative Measures (Negative List) (2017 Version), the FTZ negative list is an important document that lists business sectors in which foreign investment is

On July 11, 2017, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) released the draft Regulation for the Protection of the Critical Information Infrastructure (“Draft Regulation”) for public comment (official Chinese version available here). The comment period ends on August 10, 2017.

Aiming to add greater clarification to the Cybersecurity Law, which took effect on June 1, 2017, the Draft Regulation clarifies the scope of Critical Information Infrastructure (“CII”) and elaborates on how CII operators are supposed to protect their networks against cyber threats. The Draft Regulation also sets out additional obligations CII operators face, including allowing officials to perform cybersecurity inspections, among others.

The Draft Regulation may help reduce some of the confusion surrounding the key phrase “critical information infrastructure,” which constitutes a crucial part of China’s fast-evolving cybersecurity regulatory framework. But many important questions remain unanswered in the current draft. Companies that either operate in the sectors identified in the Draft Regulation or that supply operators in those sectors should be mindful of the requirements relating to cybersecurity, especially relating to cybersecurity reviews and procurement of network services and products, and closely monitor the regulatory developments.

Key elements of the Draft Regulation are summarized below.

Classification of CII and CII Operators

The Cybersecurity Law defines CII broadly as “infrastructure that, in the event of damage, loss of function, or data leak, might seriously endanger national security, national welfare or the livelihoods of the people, or the public interest.” Article 31 of the Cybersecurity Law references a number of “key sectors,” including telecommunications, energy, transportation, water conservation, financial services, utility, and e-government.

Article 18 of the Draft Regulation further clarifies the scope of CII, specifying that “critical network infrastructure and information systems” operated or managed by entities in the sectors identified below should be considered CII, if such infrastructure, “in the event of damage, loss of function, or data leak,” may “seriously endanger national security, national welfare or the livelihoods of the people, or the public interest.” The entities that can be identified as operators of CII include:

  • Governmental agencies, and entities in the sectors of energy, finance, transportation, water conservation, healthcare, education, social insurance, environmental protection, utilities and so on;
  • Information network operators such as operators of telecommunication, broadcasting networks, and the Internet, as well as service providers of cloud computing, big data, and other large-scale public information services;
  • “Manufacturing and research and development entities” in sectors such as national defense, large-scale equipment, chemical engineering, and food and drugs;
  •  “News units,” including broadcasting stations, TV stations, and news agencies; and
  •  “Other key sectors.”


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