After reportedly attending a dinner with the head of China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSCR) for banking and insurance, former AIG chairman Hank Greenberg told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo on Monday that China is "lifting restrictions on both classes of business."
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"I think part one is very possible [and then] who knows," Greenberg said of the China deal.
Greenberg hoped the two nations will reach an agreement and acknowledged the two sides appear closer to agreeing to phase one.
On Monday morning, stocks opened lower amid concerns that more issues between the two countries would have to be reached before the two sides agree on the first phase of the deal.
"I think China is very important to the United States and vice versa," Greenberg said.
"Our world is very safe if we have China and U.S. as allies. It's different if we are not."
Greenberg argued tariffs should take a secondary role in any trade agreement with China, suggesting they should be a part of the agreement but not be used alone. It should be used to address the question: "Is your market open the same as ours is open?" he argued.
"Tariffs were not usually used historically as part of trade agreements," Greenberg said explaining the two countries’ trade history. "In fact, we did a lot to help China when China came out of hibernation and began to export. We helped them and had very low, if any, tariffs at all for quite some time."
When asked about the use of tariffs in relation to the Trump administration’s push to prevent intellectual property theft, Greenberg agreed China ought not to steal American intellectual property but reiterated the desire to have China as an ally of the U.S.
"We shouldn’t talk as if they're enemies."
If any agreement protecting American intellectual property is reached, Greenberg suggested China would be unlikely to abide by it in full.