U.S. experts in law and international business expressed positive views on China’s pledge to lower tariffs and import more goods and services from other parts of the world.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s statement about China’s plan to have more imports “is, of course, welcome,” and its willingness to provide a “level-playing field” is an important factor in bilateral trade, said Mei Gechlik, a law professor at Stanford University, on Thursday.
In April, Xi said in his keynote speech at the opening of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation that China will increase imports of goods and services on a larger scale.
“A more open China will further integrate itself into the world, and deliver greater progress and prosperity for both China and the world at large,” Xi said.
“Regarding new opportunities with the U.S. and the world, a good measure of how much China ‘opens up’ its economy is how much the Chinese government buys from foreign firms,” said John Graham, an emeritus professor of international business at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).
“Much of the world is waiting for the Chinese government to begin purchasing from non-Chinese producers,” he said.
Graham and Benjamin Leffel, a scholar at the UCI Center for Global Leadership and Sustainability, released a 2019 U.S.-China Barometer, a measure of U.S.-China relations, in late February.
Their study found good signs in the bilateral ties, including climbing consumer purchasing power in both countries, exploding numbers of Chinese tourists and students to the United States, and the teaming of U.S. and Chinese inventors.
A further opened market will bring “growing human progress and prosperity” as well as “fundamentally important strengthening of world peace,” said Leffel.
In his speech, Xi also said China will strengthen international cooperation in intellectual property (IP) rights protection, and prohibit the forced transfer of technology.
Gechlik said China’s legal system has achieved some success in addressing IP issues, such as patents, trademarks, copyrights and rights to new plant varieties, in recent years.
In response to U.S. companies’ worries about China’s indigenous innovation policy, the Chinese government eliminated three documents that prioritize domestic innovation products in public purchase plans in 2011, a decade after it joined the World Trade Organization, said Gechlik, who is also founder and director of China Guiding Cases Project at Stanford Law School.
“Against this backdrop, President Xi’s current commitment to IP protection helps provide some reassurance,” said Gechlik, stressing the importance of establishing a mechanism through the release and effective application of more IP-related Guiding Cases.