US may unilaterally retaliate if China breaks 'phase one' deal: White House

Lighthizer, Navarro tout trade agreement enforcement mechanism.

The U.S. can unilaterally retaliate if China violates their "phase one" trade deal, White House Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro told Fox News' Ed Henry on Sunday.

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"My favorite part of the deal is an enforcement mechanism which allows us within 90 days, Ed, to unilaterally, basically, retaliate if the Chinese violate the agreement, and they can't do anything about that," Navarro said. "So it's a strong deal in that regard. Let's see if they buy the $200 billion worth of farm products, energy services and manufacturing goods that they promised. That'll be the one that's most easily monitored — what you see, what you get."

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Navarro reminded viewers that the U.S. still has tariffs on $370 billion worth of Chinese goods.

"This is a defense for our technological crown jewels as well as an insurance policy that they'll keep talking," Navarro said.

White House Trade and Manufacturing Policy Director Peter Navarro (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer made the same point on CBS "Face the Nation" earlier on Sunday morning, describing the deal as having "real, real enforcement."

"Ultimately, whether this whole agreement works is going to be determined by who's making the decisions in China, not in the United States," Lighthizer said. "If the hardliners are making the decisions, we're going to get one outcome. If the reformers are making the decisions, which is what we hope, then we're going to get another outcome. This is the way to think about this deal, is this is a first step in trying to integrate two very different systems to the benefit of both of us."

Any reaction would be "proportionate," he said.

The U.S. and China agreed to a "phase one" trade deal Friday that would reduce tariffs on some Chinese goods and could be a boon to American farmers who have been hard hit by the 19-month tit-for-tat trade war.

FILE - Chinese Vice Premier Liu He accompanied by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, left, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

China's government says it will postpone planned punitive tariffs on U.S.-made automobiles and other goods following an interim trade deal with Washington.

Beijing had planned to impose 25% duties on American-made autos on Sunday, which would have raised the total charge to 40 percent. Hardest hit were Germany's BMW AG and Daimler AG's Mercedes unit, which ship U.S.-made SUVs and other cars to China.

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Lighthizer could not say when negotiations for a phase two deal would begin.

"We don't have a date, no. ... We have to get the final translations worked out, the formalities," he said. "We're going to sign this agreement. But I'll tell you this. The second phase two is going to be determined also by how we implement phase one. Phase one is going to be implemented right down to every detail."

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