THE NEGLECTED CYBER ANGLE ON THE CHINA DEAL
Much of the attention on last week’s cyber deal with China has focused on whether that agreement will actually curtail Chinese economic espionage; while that’s important, the Stimson Center’s Nate Olson tells MC that there’s a separate, related track that could also make a difference, namely discussions on a bilateral investment treaty. “The new cyber sanctions regime and the potential for other coercive steps are clearly important parts of the backdrop. On the other hand, there is the prospect of more robust and mutually agreed rules for legitimate transfers of commercial technology,” said Olson, a research analyst at Stimson.
“In that regard, the bilateral investment treaty that is seeing intensified negotiation would likely be a major step forward,” he added. “To the extent the U.S. and China can codify meaningful agreements to facilitate commercial tech transfers, Beijing will see theft as less an imperative. That said, the U.S. won’t be trusting China to play strictly above board anytime soon, so a clear understanding of the boundaries for bad behavior — which the new cyber deal aims to provide — is critical. They’re two sides of the same coin. There are many other moving parts, of course, but in general it makes sense for progress on the cyber deal and the BIT to come at the same time.”
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