Intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, market access, and market distortion by subsidies to State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) are among the core issues in US-China trade negotiations. According to a Reuters report quoting unnamed sources, the US is stepping back on its demand regarding SOEs in China.

An important tricky point regarding SOEs is that it’s tightly interwind with the Chinese government’s industrial policy. That’s deeply rooted in the fundamental nature of China’s system, a “systematic rival” to major economies in the world as seen by EU. While China is making concessions in other areas, it’s an area that the socialist country won’t concede ground. A source said that “if U.S. negotiators define success as changing the way China’s economy operates, that will never happen”.

In addition, China is expected to ramp up purchases of US goods as part of the trade deal. But who’s going to make the purchases? It’s most likely the SOEs which the government has direct control on. Thus, another sources said “the purchasing, for example, reinforces the role of the state sector because the purchasing is all being done through state enterprises.”

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