March 22, 2018

With Trump economic crackdown, a new era in U.S.–China relations

By Daniel Kliman

The Trump administration announced today a plan to levy investment restrictions and roughly $60 billion worth of tariffs on China in response to its widespread violation of U.S. intellectual property rights. The message to Beijing is clear: Washington will no longer overlook China’s systematic efforts to acquire American technology.

Why it matters: These economic policies mark the dawn of a new era in U.S.–China relations. Though once a source of stability between the world's two most powerful nations, commerce and investment will from now on be a flashpoint.

The big picture: Beijing pursues U.S. technology by extracting intellectual property from U.S. firms operating in China, investing in American companies and startups, and opening research centers in the U.S. to tap American talent. While the tariffs might compel China to improve its domestic treatment of American firms, they leave most of China's practices unaffected. Limitations on Chinese investment in the U.S. — if carefully scoped and adaptable to Beijing’s evolving toolkit — would do more.

Read the full op-ed on Axios.

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