WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - The Trump administration is prepared to keep negotiating with China for weeks or even months to reach a trade deal that will ensure the world's second-largest economy improves market access and intellectual property policies for US companies, a senior American official said.
"This is not time-dependent. This is policy- and enforcement-dependent," White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said in a speech in Washington on Thursday (March 28).
"If it takes a few more weeks, or if it takes months, so be it. We have to get a great deal, as the President says, that works for the United States. That's our principal interest."
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met with Chinese negotiators in Beijing for a working dinner on Thursday and they'll participate in a full day of talks on Friday.
The discussions will continue next week when China's trade czar, Vice-Premier Liu He, will travel to Washington to meet with US negotiators as well as President Donald Trump, according to Mr Kudlow.
The key areas where the US is demanding better terms include China improving treatment of US intellectual property, opening up market access for American companies and agreeing on an enforcement mechanism for the trade deal, Mr Kudlow said.
The US has proposed regular meetings to assess whether China is living up to promises of reform in the pact, he said.
The Trump administration wants to be able to impose tariffs on China - with no threat of counter-retaliation - if China fails to hold up its ends of the bargain, he said.
"We are getting close, but we are not there yet," Mr Kudlow said.