US-China ties; Frace eases lockdown; EU trade plans

In today's episode, we examine US-China relationships after Washington accused Beijing of not doing enough to protect American intellectual property rights, look at France as the country eases lockdown measures after a third coronavirus wave, and examine the European Union’s plans to cut foreign dependency on six strategic areas.
Today on The Leaders' Brief -
  • About a week ago,China had announced that blueprints for the improved protection for its intellectual property, had already been drafted and were pending review. In an annual report on intellectual property protections, titled special 301, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative acknowledged that China had amended its patent, copyright and criminal laws in 2020. However, the report alleged that these steps fell short of the full range of fundamental changes needed to improve the IP landscape in China. 

  • French President Emmanuel Macronhas unveiled a four-stage plan to reopen the economy that came into effect yesterday. As per the plan, the country would start easing lockdown measures by allowing secondary-school and high-school students to start returning to in-person classes and end domestic travel restrictions this week. France had entered a third national lockdown early last month, as it battled a fresh COVID wave that threatened to strain the country’s health infrastructure. 

  • The 27-member European Union is expected to announce a plan tomorrow to reduce dependency on foreign suppliers like China for goods in six key areas that include hydrogen, low-carbon industry, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, batteries, and cloud and edge technologies.  The European Commission will conduct an in-depth review before deciding on appropriate measures that could include diversifying supply and demand. Not only relying on different trading partners whenever possible but also stockpiling and acting autonomously whenever necessary. 

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