Robert Lighthizer on China trade deal: 'We expect them to live up' to it

'It will work if reformers in China want it to work,' the US trade rep. says

United States trade representative Robert Lighthizer promised the U.S.-China trade deal to be signed on Wednesday is "a really good deal for the United States" he admitted he's no "Pollyanna" about how China might behave when it comes to adhering to the guidelines surrounding the theft of American intellectual property.

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"We're tough, hard people, and we expect them to live up to the letter of the law," Lighthizer told FOX Business' Lou Dobbs on Monday. "We'll bring cases. We'll bring actions against them if they don't, but for right now, this is a really, really big agreement -- a huge step forward."

US trade rep. Robert Lighthizer speaks next to US President Donald Trump, remarking on the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA), from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on October 1, 2018. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP)

When it comes to stolen American IP as well as Chinese cyberattacks against America, Lighthizer maintained a wait-and-see mentality.

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"We will have people looking at whether or not they're living up to their commitments on tech transfer, on IP, on financial services, opening on agriculture standards issues and the like," Lighthizer said on "Lou Dobbs Tonight." "So, this is something that we'll have to monitor."

"It's a really, really good deal for the United States, and it will work if reformers in China want it to work," Lighthizer said. "And if that happens, great. If it doesn't happen, it's fully enforceable."

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There are a variety of problems related to the economy that exist in China many of which are related to unfair practices, which while not in this agreement, Lighthizer said the Trump administration plans to tackle in phase two or three of the trade deal.

"There are really serious problems, but the biggest thing to me at least is to get a big, really big deal going," Lighthizer said.

Lighthizer said while the "imbalanced economic relationship" with China won't disappear overnight, he's optimistic about the progress made.

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