President Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum on March 22, proposing tariffs on Chinese imports in retaliation for long-time claims of violations of American IP. The tariffs are intended to increase enforcement – along with the corresponding value – of American IP in the rapidly growing industrial power.
The presidential memorandum proposes tariffs on at least $50 billion worth of Chinese imports and directs the Office of the United States Trade Representative to produce a list of targeted products. The intention is to focus the burden of the tariffs on the Chinese technology sector. The list of targeted products will be made public in April and will be followed by a month-long period for public comment before the tariffs are implemented.
The proposed tariffs have been met with both hearty approval and hesitation. Some fear the tariffs will prompt China to retaliate with its own tariffs, raising prices for American consumer goods or slowing the immediate growth of American companies that export heavily from China. Others look to the intended effects of these tariffs and see the vast opportunity created by safe, enforceable IP rights in China. Trump, emphasizing the urgency of this issue, has suggested the effects of the proposed tariffs will be re-assessed in two weeks for potential adjustment. It will be interesting to monitor whether these tariffs only heighten trade conflict with China or whether they are a significant step toward unlocking the potential of a promising, but thus far frustrating, IP environment in China.
If you have questions about intellectual property protection domestically, or would like to discuss the potential value of intellectual property protection in China in light of these tariffs, please reach out to either Kevin Myhre or Joe Falcon, or contact anyone in Barley Snyder’s Intellectual Property Practice Group.