U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Sunday said no date has been set for “phase two” talks with China to deal with its notorious intellectual property theft, subsidies to Chinese corporations and cybertheft.
In an interview with CBS News’ “Face The Nation,” Lighthizer hailed the completion of a phase one deal.
“This is done,” he said. “This is something that happens in every agreement — there's a translation period. There are some scrubs. This is totally done. Absolutely.”
He touted the deal for keeping in place $380 billion “worth of tariffs to defend, protect U.S. technology. So that's one part of it. Another part of it is very important structural changes.”
But issues that have drawn loud complaints from businesses — intellectual property theft, subsidizing corporations in China in an unfair way for Americans and cybertheft — won’t be covered until phase two talks begin.
“We don't have a date, no,” he conceded on those talks.
Lighthizer also said the deal with Mexico and Canada is now better with its labor concessions, though he lamented a 10-year data exclusivity period for biologic drugs was dropped.
“With the exception of biologics, it's more enforceable and it's better for American workers and American manufacturers and agriculture workers than it was before. For sure,” he said of USMCA.
“And a Trump trade policy is going to get a lot of Democratic support. Remember, most of these working people voted for the president of the United States. These are not his enemies.”
Later on Sunday, Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a joint statement that reports over the last week in The Wall Street Journal claiming the U.S. offered to drastically cut tariffs on Chinese goods are wrong.
"While we do not comment on the content of negotiations, we have said publicly and on the report that this is totally false, untrue and baseless. It did not happen," the statement reads.
They added that the reports were "utterly false. No such offer was ever made to China by the United States. There is not a single knowledgeable American negotiator who would support this falsehood. Further, there is no Chinese negotiator who could honestly be this source."
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