A dispute resolution office and complaint hotline has been established by the United States S. Trade Representative’s office which will be responsible to ensure that the so called Phase 1 trade agreement between the US and China is enforced, the USTR office said. The new office is expected to begin operations from Sunday.
The new office will be headed by the Deputy USTR Jeffrey Gerrish. The agency said in a statement that the new office will recieve and accept complaints about China’s implementation of the agreement that will be made by companies and other interested parties.
“Interested parties may raise their concerns about implementation matters under the Phase One agreement by calling 202-395-3900,” USTR said.
According to the enforcement provisions of the partial trade agreement, such dispute resolution offices are being opened up by both the US and China. According to the claims of the Trump administration, it is this dispute resolution and enforcement mechanism that has distinguished the latest trade deal with the China from the previous promises made by Beijing that it would bring in changes to its policies and practices on trade and intellectual property.
Under the phase 1 trade agreement, China has promised to make enhanced purchases of US goods to the tune of $200 billion more than usual in the next two years. However, the most recent outbreak of the coronavirus and the resultant temporary closure of factories and transport that are yet to all open up, has cast doubts over the ability of China to be able to expend in US imports as much as it has promised.
Additionally, a number of other promises have also been named by China in the Phase 1 trade deal with the US. These include improved measures for protection of intellectual property of American companies, reigning in on its regulations of forced and coerced transfer technology from US companies to Chinese firms, opening up of its financial sector to American companies, removal of some of the trade barriers to the agricultural sector and not indulging in currency manipulation.
In return, the Trump administration has agreed that it would reduce tariffs by 50 per cent on $120 billion worth of Chinese imports into the US which includes a range of products – from Bluetooth headphones, smart speakers and flat-panel televisions to footwear. TRhe new tariffs will be at 7.5 per cent. The US has also suspended a proposed new hike in tariffs on Chinese goods that was scheduled to be implemented in December.
A series of escalating consultations over a 90-day period will be held by both sides under the agreed dispute settlement process. The complaining party will however be allowed to impose new tariffs on the other party’s goods for an amount that would be equal to the estimated loss or damage that had been sustained till such time of the complaint because of the actions of the other party, in the eventuality that no compromise or resolution is arrived at by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.
(Adapted from Firstpost.com)