US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday that US-China trade talks continue to make progress and the two sides have basically settled on a mechanism to police any agreement, including new enforcement offices.
Mnuchin, speaking on CNBC television, said that a call with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Tuesday night was productive and discussions would be resumed on Thursday.
“We’ve pretty much agreed on an enforcement mechanism, we’ve agreed that both sides will establish enforcement offices that will deal with the ongoing matters,” Mnuchin said, adding that there were still important issues for the United States and China to address.
Mnuchin declined to comment on when or if US tariffs on $250bn worth of Chinese goods would be removed.
“I think we have some very important issues to address but both sides are working very hard,” he told the business news cable broadcaster.
“Some of the chapters are close to finished, some of them still have technical issues,” he added.
Although US President Donald Trump said recently that a deal could be ready around the end of April, Mnuchin declined to put a timeframe on the negotiations, adding that Trump was focussed on getting the “right deal”.
Trump said last week a conclusion in the talks was probably “four weeks” away but since discussions began earlier this year to end the nine-month trade war, the finishing line has repeatedly slipped further into the future.
“As soon as we’re ready and we have this done, he’s ready and willing to meet President Xi [Jinping] and it’s important for the two leaders to meet and we’re hopeful we can do this quickly, but we’re not going to set an arbitrary deadline,” Mnuchin said.
The US is demanding that China implement significant reforms to curb the theft of US intellectual property and end forced transfers of technology from US companies to Chinese firms.
Washington also wants Beijing to curb industrial subsidies, open its markets more widely to US firms and vastly increase purchases of US agricultural, energy and manufactured goods.