WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will lead negotiations with China over tariffs, market entry and structural modifications to mental property practices over the subsequent 90 days, the White House has confirmed, doubtlessly signaling a more durable U.S. line.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer testifies earlier than a Senate Finance Committee listening to on “President Trump’s 2018 Trade Policy Agenda” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
On Saturday, U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping declared a commerce truce, agreeing to maintain off on new tariffs following months of escalating rigidity. The two sides additionally agreed to negotiate over the subsequent 90 days.
Lighthizer main the talks marks a shift from the administration’s earlier method to China commerce talks that had been largely led by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Lighthizer, an skilled commerce negotiator and having simply accomplished a brand new settlement with Canada and Mexico, is likely one of the administration’s most vocal China critics.
“Robert Lighthizer, the ambassador, USTR, is in charge of these negotiations,” White House commerce adviser Peter Navarro instructed National Public Radio. “He’s the toughest negotiator we’ve ever had at the USTR and he’s going to go chapter and verse and get tariffs down, non-tariff barriers down and end all these structural practices that prevent market access.”
A White House official additionally confirmed the choice to have Lighthizer lead the negotiations.
Mnuchin had mentioned the negotiations with China could be led by Trump, with an “inclusive team” of administration officers, together with himself and different cupboard officers.
Mnuchin led some previous rounds of talks due to his relationship because the counterpart to Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the highest financial adviser to Chinese President Xi Jinping. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross additionally led a failed spherical of talks in Beijing in June, whereas mid-level Treasury officers hosted a spherical of discussions in August.
The White House mentioned on Saturday that the talks would cowl structural modifications in China on compelled know-how switch, mental property safety, non-tariff limitations, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, companies and agriculture.
Most of those points have been recognized in USTR’s “Section 301” investigation of China’s mental property practices, which fashioned the idea of the U.S. tariffs imposed on Chinese items.
Lighthizer mentioned final week that China had failed to alter the “unfair, unreasonable” practices on the coronary heart of the commerce dispute.
Reporting by David Lawder, Editing by Franklin Paul and Susan Thomas