Expectations didn’t appear high for the latest round of China-U.S. talks about a variety of economic issues including trade secret protection. As previously discussed at TSW, China had not signed onto the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, and earlier this summer, the U.S. had threatened economic sanctions against China for lax cybersecurity enforcement. 

But the most recent Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade surpassed the low expectations and instead, appear to show some real progress. China committed to strengthening trade secret protections for misappropriation victims—something Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker characterized as a “big deal.” In particular, China clarified its intent and efforts to revise China’s trade secret systems and committed to making preliminary injunctions and other legal remedies more accessible to victims of trade secrets theft.

Both sides appeared happy with the outcomes and committed to cooperating with each other in the future. With the September agreement that both countries’ governments would not support or conduct any cyber theft of private companies for trade secrets and other intellectual property, and the latest meaningful resolutions, a new era for trade secret protections between the U.S. and China may be upon us.