The United States and China signed on January 15 the first phase of a “truce” agreement after 18 months of a trade war. With regard to technology, the agreement includes greater protection of the intellectual property of US companies, however it does not eliminate the customs duties created.
The United States will reduce tariffs on imports of smart speakers, wireless headsets, televisions and smartwatches to 7.5%. The agreement postpones for an indefinite period 15% rates for laptops, tablets, consoles and smartphones that would have entered into force on December 15, 2019.
The 25% import rates for desktop computers, chargers, power adapters and smart thermostats are maintained. According to Steven Mnuchin, US Treasury Secretary, in an interview with CNBC, there may be a reversal of these tariffs in a second phase of the agreement, which is dependent on the success of the first.
Present in the agreement is the protection of the intellectual property of US companies. China is committed to stop obliging them to carry out a forced transfer of technology as a condition to be able to do business with Chinese companies. The Chinese government has agreed to improve its procedures to combat patent and copyright infringement, as well as to take more serious measures to curb piracy and sale of counterfeit equipment.
Outside the agreement is the commercial blockade imposed on Huawei and the other technological companies present on the "black list" of the Donald Trump administration. According to Steven Mnuchin, “Huawei is not part of the economic dialogue, but of the national security dialogue, which is still going on”. The Secretary of the US Government states that "these are matters that have to be negotiated separately."