The US tech sector breathed a sigh of relief this week with the hard-negotiated adoption of a trade truce, but many questions remain unanswered.
The preliminary agreement, signed Wednesday by President Donald Trump and Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Liu He, cancels 160 billion customs taxes on Chinese products, which could harm the telephony and the IT sector, and therefore prove to be painful for the American consumer.
In the area of industrial property, the protection of American patents should thus be strengthened.
Agreement "brings real progress to combat systematic problems of industrial property theft and forced technology transfer to China," said Robert Atkinson of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, an institute of studies specializing in technology.
But, at the same time, the agreement maintains many other tariffs in force.
"The thorniest issues in the innovation sector remain on the table, including the generous subsidies that China provides to its companies, including its state-owned enterprises," said the analyst.
In addition, he adds, the conditions for applying the phase one agreement remain unclear. "China is a master in the art of smoking when it comes to respecting its agreements," he said.
- "Temporary respite" -
According to Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Technology Association, the deal will not repair the damage caused by the taxes already imposed by Mr. Trump's government.
"The tariffs are taxes applied to the Americans, not to the Chinese," assures Mr. Shapiro. "The postponement of customs duties results in a temporary respite for many of America's favorite technological products. But market uncertainty will continue until we see a permanent withdrawal of customs duties, or the return of billion dollars that our country has paid because of these taxes. "
According to his association, which represents 2,000 technology companies of varying sizes, customs tariffs increased the cost of imported technological equipment by 19.2 billion until November 2019, including almost $ 1.7 billion for crucial equipment in the development of 5G.
Chris Mitchell, who works for IPC, a tech manufacturing organization, sees the new deal as a "way" to solve acute problems.
But, he adds, "the deal leaves many unresolved issues, including cybersecurity, structural economic reforms, and many high taxes remain in place on many of the products that are marketed in our sector."
- "First stage" -
The trade agreement "is just the first step in what will be a long-term process, but it looks like a working relationship will continue," said Richard Windsor, an analyst writer at Radio Free blog. Mobile.
He noted an easing of tensions on trade, while on the contrary the warming continued according to him on the issue of technological standards. "I continue to see many foreign countries forced to choose between two separate supply chains," he said.
For Susan Aronson, of George Washington University, the Sino-American pact is "mediocre", in particular because it does not address the question of the "Great Wall", the system by which Beijing censors the internet.
© 2020 AFP