As U.S. and China Near Trade Deal, Enforcement Is Key

Myron Brilliant, the executive vice president and head of international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the two sides were closer but cautioned that the Chinese would not agree to a final deal without something in return.

“I remain confident in the prospects of a deal, but I think we need to be cleareyed and understand that China could walk away from expected commitments in purchases, market access, intellectual property and other areas if they don’t get something out of this deal, and that’s tariff relief,” he said.

Political reception of the deal in the United States will largely come down to how tough the United States appears to have been on China.

“I think you have hawks on both sides that are now down to the heart of the matter,” Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s former strategist, said on Tuesday. “What do you do on these structural issues? What are the triggers? What’s the enforcement?”

“No one to date has gotten to the right of Trump on China,” he added. But once details of the deal emerge, outspoken China critics like Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida; Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York; and Richard Trumka, the president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., “may say hey, this is not tough enough,” Mr. Bannon said.

American and Chinese negotiators have continued to carry out talks this week through video conferencing, after a Chinese delegation visited Washington last week. Negotiators have already worked out the bulk of a 150-page agreement on issues including intellectual property protections, purchases, subsidies and currency. Yet the two sides have recently grappled with sticking points over issues including intellectual property and approvals for genetically modified crops, as well as major differences on lifting Mr. Trump’s tariffs and the enforcement mechanism.

The negotiations have been highly secretive, and it was not clear on Thursday how many of these remaining issues had yet to be resolved. A spokeswoman for the United States trade representative, which is leading the negotiations, declined to comment.

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