US-China trade: How a deal with Beijing could be enforced

Sen. Ron Johnson said on Sunday that enforcement is the key to making sure the Chinese government keeps its promises as part of a trade deal with the U.S., as Washington and Beijing continue their attempts to reach an agreement.

“Part of the problem is how do you enforce an agreement – things that the Chinese deny?” Johnson, R-Wis., told “Sunday Morning Futures.” “For example, the cyber theft, the espionage. So I’m afraid the cyber theft and espionage will probably have to be enforced through criminal justice, through potential cases with WTO.”

As part of the trade agreement, China would be required to stop stealing U.S. intellectual property and end its cyber espionage practice. Talks to end the trade dispute, which over the course of the past year has led to each country placing hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of tariffs on one another’s goods, have seen progression, according to the administration, but have yet to produce a signed pact.

“In terms of the intellectual property transfers, that can be handled through an agreement and it can be enforced through those agreements as well,” Johnson said.

President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were scheduled to meet at the end of the month to finalize a deal, however Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the summit had been postponed because more time was needed to iron out the complete workings of the agreement.


Meanwhile, the trade war between Washington and Beijing has taken its toll on both economies. The dispute cost the American economy $7.8 billion in 2018 (0.04% of GDP), according to a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The study was authored by economists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Yale University, University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University. In China, equity and auto markets have fallen victim to economic headwinds.

“The sooner we can get our trading partners to come to the table in good faith, offer fair and reciprocal trade treatment, the better the entire world economy will be,” the senator said.