US and China agreed on ‘enforcement officers’ on trade deal, says Mnuchin

Trade talks between the United States and China are still ongoing. (Reuters pic)

WASHINGTON: The US and China have agreed to open “enforcement offices” as a way to make sure each side lives up to the terms of a trade deal still under negotiation, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Wednesday.

“We’ve pretty much agreed on an enforcement mechanism,” Mnuchin said on CNBC. “We’ve agreed that both sides will establish enforcement offices that will deal with the ongoing matters. So this is something that both sides are taking very seriously.”

President Donald Trump has said the two sides are nearing a trade deal after recent high-level meetings in Beijing and Washington.

Officials are discussing text of an agreement that would cover technology transfers, intellectual property protections, non-tariff measures, services, agriculture, trade balance and enforcement, according to China’s state-run Xinhua.

Drafts of the broader trade agreement now under discussion would give Beijing until 2025 to meet commitments such as allowing American companies to wholly own enterprises in China, people familiar with the talks said earlier. Those would be binding pledges that could trigger US retaliation if unfulfilled, the people said.

The nine-month trade war between the world’s largest economies has disrupted supply chains, whipsawed markets and weighed on the world economy.

The International Monetary Fund cut its outlook for global growth to the lowest since the financial crisis, while including a breakdown in US-China talks among possible risks.

Negotiators are still working out details and discussing when Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping could sit down to sign off on the agreement.

Despite touting the idea of a “signing summit” at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida a month ago, Trump said last week there are no guarantees the two will meet.