ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Assessing the US–ChinaEconomic and Trade Agreement

The United States and China had signed Phase One of the Economic and Trade Agreement, the process to end the nearly two-year-old trade war between the world’s two largest economies. The agreement reads like a charter of demands that the US has made on China in several key areas. A critical analysis of the agreement and the implications for the two countries are presented.


On 22 March 2018, United States (US) President Donald Trump signed the “Presidential Memorandum Targeting China’s Economic Aggression,” signalling the beginning of a trade war between the two largest economies.1 Trump initiated this action arguing that China violates intellectual property rights (IPRs) belonging to American firms. But, while his action against China was taken to “protect [US] domestic technology and intellectual property from certain discriminatory and burdensome trade practices” by his country’s largest trade partner,2 the President also indicated that his aim was to “reduce the trade deficit immediately by $100 billion.”3 Almost 22 months later, Trump signed an Economic and Trade Agreement with China, signalling a temporary pause in the trade war (USTR 2020). This agreement was termed as Phase One, indicating that a second phase of this agreement would start as soon as the current agreement “kicks in.”4

Dimensions of the Trade War

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Updated On : 13th Mar, 2020
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