On January 15th, the US and China signed Phase 1 of a Trade Agreement. The full agreement is planned to be executed in at least 2 phases. 

Full text of the 7 Chapters of the agreement can be found here:

https://ustr.gov/countries-regions/china-mongolia-taiwan/peoples-republic-china/phase-one-trade- agreement/text

Fact sheets are also available on a variety of specific topics and commodities of interest.

The below points reference some key highlights and takeaways per Chapter that have significant impact for our customers:

Chapter 1: Intellectual Property

Intellectual property issues and concerns have plagued US/China relations for many years. This chapter begins to address those issues, especially with trade secrets and intellectual property (pharmaceutical related) and enforcement for misappropriation

Chapter 2: Technology Transfer

Forced technology transfer is banned

Chapter 3: Agriculture

Non tariff related trade barriers to trade are addressed in a multitude of categories:

Dairy, infant formula, poultry, beef, cattle, pork, aquatic products, rice, potatoes, California nectarines, blueberries, California Hass avocadoes, barley, hay, almond meal pellets, frozen fruits and vegetables, grain and oilseed products, animal feed, and pet food

The specifications in this chapter open the beef market in China for US exporters much more than it has been in the last 15 years

Few changes to the poultry market as it was opened up in November and the first shipment of US poultry has already arrived and been cleared in to China

China will implement a regulatory and authorization process for products of agricultural biotechnology. Currently, biotechnology approvals take upward of 5 years and that authorization is required before entry to the market. That timeline will be reduced to 24 months 

Chapter 4: Financial Services

Trade and investment barriers are addressed so US financial service providers can expand services in the Chinese market

Chapter 5: Currency

Requirements for transparency and refraining from devaluation are outlined here

Chapter 6: Expanding Trade

China has committed to imports of US goods totaling $200 billion in excess of the imports of those same goods in 2017. These goods include agricultural products, manufactured products, and goods and services

The goal of what’s outlined in this chapter is to significantly reduce the trade deficit

Chapter 7: Dispute Resolution

Many enforcement mechanisms have been outlined that did not exist previously

Establishment of regular staff meetings between the US and China

Dispute escalation process established

Trade action can be taken unilaterally if no resolution can be reached through the escalation process and this agreement prevents retaliatory action from the other party

Other notes:

Section 301 List 4A tariff percentage will be reduced from 15% to 7.5%. on February 14, 2020, per the Federal Register Notice on the topic found here:


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For more than 70 years, Laufer Group International Ltd. has maintained a complete logistics and service platform that helps importers improve their businesses. Our experience and expertise can help you navigate the shifting tides of today’s global shipping industry, from day-to-day logistics to the complex issues raised by higher tariffs. To learn more and to get the guidance you need, contact us at inquiry@laufer.com.






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