National People’s Congress convenes as US and China near trade deal

National People’s Congress convenes as US and China near trade deal

The National People’s Congress (NPC) will meet in Beijing today for its second annual session. The NPC will focus on

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Photo: Reuters

The National People’s Congress (NPC) will meet in Beijing today for its second annual session.

The NPC will focus on a new law that will allow foreign firms to buyout the joint-ventures they have long had to use to operate in China, addressing a long-standing desire from Western firms. The NPC is also expected to approve reforms to intellectual property protections, a key US demand, which would heighten enforcement of foreign patents and reduce forced technology transfers.

The moves will boost the chances that Beijing and Washington will reach a preliminary agreement in the coming weeks. While foreign investment and IP protections are likely to go some way to appeasing US concerns, the final agreement is expected to be short on specifics of how Beijing will prevent forced transfers and corporate theft.

However, after the sudden collapse of his Hanoi summit, Trump is under greater domestic pressure to show he can produce a deal that will address his concerns and reset the trade relationship with Beijing. President Trump has called for China to lift all tariffs on US exports ahead of an agreement in the coming weeks, signalling the optimism that both sides have that they will reach an agreement.

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