Trade deal: US eases sanctions, China to buy more US products

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A woman walks a depiction of a Rat with the words “Bring in wealth and treasures” ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year Year of the Rat celebrations in Beijing on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. China’s government welcomed an interim trade deal with Washington and said Thursday the two sides need to address each other’s “core concerns.” (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — A trade agreement signed Wednesday in Washington commits the United States to scaling back economic sanctions on China.

FILE – In this Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump, right, signs a trade agreement with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, in the East Room of the White House, in Washington. China’s government welcomed an interim trade deal with Washington and said Thursday the two sides need to address each other’s “core concerns.” (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

In  return, the  Chinese say they will buy dramatically more U.S. products, stop forcing foreign companies to hand over trade secrets and do more to protect intellectual property.

The deal also requires China to come up with procedures to act to take down websites that sell pirated goods.

China also must make it possible for e-commerce sites to lose their licenses for “repeated failures to curb the sale of counterfeit or pirated goods.’’

A look at highlights of the 86-page deal:

U.S. EXPORTS: China agreed to increase purchases of U.S. services and manufactured, energy and farm products by $200 billion this year and next. The arrangement means that China is supposed to buy $40 billion a year in U.S. farm exports. It’s an ambitious goal. China has never bought more than $26 billion in U.S. agricultural products in a year.

TARIFFS: The United States dropped plans to extend tariffs to an additional $160 billion worth of Chinese imports. That move, originally scheduled for Dec. 15, would have extended the tariffs to just about everything China ships to the United States. The U.S. also cut in half, to 7.5%, the U.S. tariffs on another $110 billion in Chinese goods. Still, the U.S. maintains tariffs on $360 billion worth of Chinese imports, nearly two-thirds of the total. It’s a figure that would have been unthinkable before President Donald Trump took office and took a far more aggressive approach to China and trade. It is unclear what China is going to do with the retaliatory tariffs it has imposed on U.S. products.

TECH TRANSFERS: China pledged to stop forcing U.S. and other foreign companies to hand over technology as the price of admission to the Chinese market. Any transfer of technology must be made for business reasons and not be coerced. Still, China has sworn off forced technology transfers before.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: The agreement makes it easier to bring criminal cases in China against those accused of stealing trade secrets. It includes provisions designed to stop Chinese government officials from using administrative and regulatory procedures to ferret out foreign companies’ trade secrets and allowing that information to get into the hands of Chinese competitors.

The deal also requires China to come up with procedures to “permit effective and expeditious action’’ to take down websites that sell pirated goods. China also must make it possible for e-commerce sites to lose their licenses for “repeated failures to curb the sale of counterfeit or pirated goods.’’

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