US Section 301, China, and Technology Transfer: Law and Its Limitations Revisited (Again)

International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), Opinion, May 23, 2018

7 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2018

See all articles by Frederick M. Abbott

Frederick M. Abbott

Florida State University - College of Law

Date Written: May 23, 2018

Abstract

Disputes between the United States and China regarding transfer of technology and intellectual property are of long-standing.

The more economically significant elements of China's practices addressed by US complaints are not well-addressed by WTO rules. Threatened US retaliatory tariffs would violate WTO norms. Still, Robert Hudec’s approach to justified trade disobedience is relevant.

US criticism of China's industrial policy may reflect a fundamental difference in national governance models. Though different, it is not clear why China's model of engaging in detailed industrial policy planning directed towards progressive goals should be viewed as misguided.

It seems reasonable to rebalance concessions that China secured when negotiating entry to the WTO because circumstances have changed in consequence of China's remarkable economic success.

There remains space for political and economic diplomacy near and outside the boundaries of the WTO framework. However, care should be taken that bilateralism does not become the "new normal" as trade fragmentation and power politics have proven problematic in the past.

Keywords: China, US Section 301, Technology Transfer, Investment, Trade, Intellectual Property

JEL Classification: K33, F02, F21, F51, K39

Suggested Citation

Abbott, Frederick M., US Section 301, China, and Technology Transfer: Law and Its Limitations Revisited (Again) (May 23, 2018). International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), Opinion, May 23, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3185439

Frederick M. Abbott (Contact Author)

Florida State University - College of Law ( email )

425 W. Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32306
United States
850-644-1572 (Phone)
850-645-4862 or 917-591-3112 (Fax)

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