This thesis explores the complex landscape of intellectual property protection in the context of the U.S-China trade relations. U.S. intellectual property protection in China has emerged as a critical issue in the U.S.-China trade relations, impacting tensions and becoming a critical point. The thesis examines the challenges posed by China’s historical attitudes towards intellectual property rights. China’s historical lack of respect for intellectual property rights, compounded by the Communist political culture, has led to widespread piracy, particularly as China pursues the market-driven economics of U.S. intellectual property protection in China. The Agreements on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), part of the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations, establish international standards for intellectual property protection. U.S. employs bilateral trade-base approaches to address concerns regarding intellectual property protection in China. The effectiveness of intellectual property protection depends heavily on enforcement mechanisms in both countries.

Despite the U.S.’s achievement in establishing effective multilateral mechanisms through the Uruguay Round GATT negotiations, particularly under TRIPs. However, China’s progress in intellectual property legislation has not effectively resolved the issue of ineffective enforcement of the law, even as China pursued GATT membership. Further, the thesis highlights that China needs continuous improvement in protecting foreign, especially U.S., intellectual property rights, while the U.S. should maintain constructive engagement in China’s economy and trade to enhance protection without restoring detrimental trade sanctions.