Mnuchin: U.S., China Agree to Establish Trade Deal Enforcement Offices

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies before a House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 9, 2019. (Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday that U.S.–China trade talks continue to make progress and the two sides have basically settled on a mechanism to police any agreement, including new enforcement offices.

Mnuchin, speaking on CNBC television, said that a call with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Tuesday night was productive and discussions would be resumed on Thursday.

“We’ve pretty much agreed on an enforcement mechanism, we’ve agreed that both sides will establish enforcement offices that will deal with the ongoing matters,” Mnuchin said, adding that there were still important issues for the United States and China to address.

Mnuchin declined to comment on when or if U.S. tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods would be removed. Although President Donald Trump said recently that a deal could be ready around the end of April, Mnuchin declined to put a timeframe on the negotiations, adding that Trump was focused on getting the “right deal.”

“As soon as we’re ready and we have this done, he’s ready and willing to meet with President Xi (Jinping) and it’s important for the two leaders to meet and we’re hopeful we can do this quickly, but we’re not going to set an arbitrary deadline,” Mnuchin said.

The United States is demanding that China implement significant reforms to curb the theft of U.S. intellectual property and end forced transfers of technology from American companies to Chinese firms. Washington also wants Beijing to curb industrial subsidies, open its markets more widely to U.S. firms and vastly increase purchases of American agricultural, energy and manufactured goods.