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U.S. to start talks with China over enforcing Trump's 'phase one' trade deal

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U.S. to start talks with China over enforcing Trump's 'phase one' trade deal
A White House official said the administration will not take "any tools off the table," including Trump-era sanctions against China. File Photo by Sarah Silbiger/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 4 (UPI) -- U.S. negotiators will begin direct talks with China on Monday and pledge to enforce the "phase one" trade agreement that was negotiated by former President Donald Trump's administration, as well as bring up other policy concerns.

U.S. officials say China has failed to live up to the agreement and accuses Beijing of continuing unfair trade practices that have hurt American workers. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, President Joe Biden's chief top official, will lead the talks Monday.

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"I think the best way to characterize what Ambassador Tai will say [Monday] is that she intends to have frank conversations with her counterpart in China about China's performance under the phase one agreement," a senior administration official told reporters.

"We are not going to predetermine what the outcomes of those conversations are but based on the data that we've seen, there are some commitments that have not been met, and we think the results overall of the agreement are mixed. We will be having conversations with the ambassador will be having conversations with her Chinese counterpart to discuss those things."

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In prepared remarks for the discussion, Tai vows to enforce the trade deal.

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"Today, I will lay out the starting point of our administration's strategic vision for realigning our trade policies towards China to defend the interests of America's workers, businesses, farmers and producers and strengthen our middle class," she will say, according to CNBC.

"China made commitments intended to benefit certain American industries, including agriculture that we must enforce."

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The White House official said the administration will not take "any tools off the table," including Trump-era sanctions against China.

"We are going to make sure that the trade enforcement actions that we take align with the Biden-Harris priorities and that any trade -- the exclusions process, like I mentioned, we also want to make sure we use that to align existing tariffs to those same priorities," they said.

While Biden's administration apparently plans to hold China to the deals it made with Trump, the White House official said there will be some differences.

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"Unlike his predecessor, President Biden is going to hold China to account where China is falling short of its commitments," they said. "Biden also believes that we have to use all our tools to make sure China's economic and trade policies do not hurt American workers and businesses."

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Trump and China imposed tit-for-tat tariffs during an 18-month trade war until the two sides signed the "phase one" agreement in early 2020. At the time, U.S. officials said the deal achieved progress in protections for intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services and currencies and foreign exchange.

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