Trump ‘firm’ on China structural demands, tariffs part of enforcement

WASHINGTON: US Vice President Mike Pence (pictured) said that President Donald Trump would “stand firm” on his demands for structural changes to China’s trade practices, and removal of US tariffs on Chinese goods would be a part of a mechanism to enforce any deal with Beijing. Pence told CNBC television in an interview aired that Trump “remains very hopeful” about reaching a trade deal with China in talks next week in Washington. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will travel to Washington for talks starting on Wednesday after a round of talks this week in Beijing that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called “productive.”

Industry representatives say they believe the talks are in the endgame, and Mnuchin has said he hopes that by the end of next week the US team is in a position to recommend a deal to Trump or tell him that one could not be reached. Asked whether a deal would leave some of the US tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods in place, Pence said: “The president’s two favourite words are ‘We’ll see.’” “The president believes we’re in a very strong position, we could put more tariffs on if we’re not able to reach an agreement. The manner in which tariffs would come off is going to be a part of the enforcement mechanism and all of that is the subject of negotiations as we talk,” Pence said.

The administration has been insisting on a mechanism to ensure that China follows through on any reform promises and commitments to purchase more American goods. Administration officials have said both sides are expected to launch new enforcement staffs to police the agreement. — Reuters