Editor’s note: The most challenging part of the task is structural reforms and enforcement mechanisms. The US had a $376B trade deficit with China in 2017. It worsened last year.
The value of a deal the U.S. and China could reach in the coming weeks will depend largely on the enforcement mechanisms China will be willing to agree to, analysts and industry sources said.
[Brett Fortnam | January 9, 2019 | Inside US Trade]
A delegation of U.S. officials led by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish was in Beijing this week to discuss trade issues with Chinese counterparts. The talks were initially scheduled to take place on Monday and Tuesday, but wrapped up on Wednesday, an extension the Chinese Foreign Ministry ascribed to both sides being “serious.”
“The prolonged talks show the commitment both sides have put into the trade talks,” China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Wednesday, according to state-run media. “If good results come out of the trade talks between the two countries, they will not only benefit both China and the U.S., but also be good news for the world economy.”
USTR issued its own statement after the talks ended, offering little detail.
“On January 7-9, an official delegation from the United States led by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish held meetings in Beijing with Chinese officials to discuss ways to achieve fairness, reciprocity, and balance in trade relations between our two countries,” it said. “The officials also discussed the need for any agreement to provide for complete implementation subject to ongoing verification and effective enforcement. The meetings were held as part of the agreement reached by President Donald J. Trump and President Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires to engage in 90 days of negotiations with a view to achieving needed structural changes in China with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft of trade secrets for commercial purposes, services, and agriculture. The talks also focused on China’s pledge to purchase a substantial amount of agricultural, energy, manufactured goods, and other products and services from the United States. The United States officials conveyed President Trump’s commitment to addressing our persistent trade deficit and to resolving structural issues in order to improve trade between our countries.”