‘I hope it has a happy ending.’

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, a longtime hard-liner on China, has been tapped to lead the administration team that will be aggressively pressing Beijing to make extensive changes to its economy to address long-standing complaints by President Donald Trump.

“Mr. Lighthizer will be as vigilant as anybody in the business in monitoring this, and I hope it has a happy ending,” White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told reporters on a conference call Monday afternoon.

Lighthizer will work in concert with other top administration officials to demand changes to address a litany of complaints the U.S. has about China’s practices. The White House has accused China of “stealing” corporate trade secrets and technology, and earlier this year, the administration had produced a list of roughly 142 demands it wanted Beijing to address.

Lighthizer’s reputation as a hardened negotiator might help accomplish some of Trump’s goals. Two weeks ago, Lighthizer and his office released an update to a March report slamming China, saying the country has done little to improve the problems that the Trump administration has pointed to as a way of justifying U.S. tariffs.

The new U.S.-China meetings, whose dates haven’t been set yet, will be the next significant step after Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed over the weekend to a 90-day pause on increasing tariffs between the countries as they work to strike a deal on an array of trade issues, including cyber crimes and a large trade imbalance.

The temporary truce in a trade war between the world’s two largest economies will prevent what is currently a 10 percent U.S. tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods from being bumped up to 25 percent on Jan. 1. In exchange, China agreed to purchase “a very substantial amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other product from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries,” Trump said.

The president also predicted in a tweet on Monday that “very good things will happen” as a result of the agreement he made with Xi in Argentina.

Chinese officials have not addressed how soon or even what type of changes it will make, but Kudlow told reporters he expected some moves — such as purchases of U.S. agricultural goods and the lowering of automotive tariffs — to begin “immediately.”

He added that while he could not offer specifics, his expectation was that China would “quickly” roll back the retaliatory tariffs it has placed on U.S. agricultural products as it begins ramping up its purchases of those goods.

“Much of the credibility of this discussion will hinge on rapid movement and implementation of the Chinese commitments, and they know that,” Kudlow said. “This is something we explicitly talked about.”

During a press conference on Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang would not address direct questions about the specifics on the talks nor on the differences in the statements released by China and the U.S. on what was agreed to over the weekend. Instead, he spoke generally about bringing relations back to “normal.”

“China is willing to open its market, expand export and promote to ease the relevant China-U.S. trade issues in light of the process of its new round of reform and opening-up and the needs of the domestic market and its people,” Geng added.

The South China Morning Post, citing a source familiar with the discussions, reported that China was expected to send about 30 officials to Washington.

Perhaps encouraged by news of the temporary truce, the U.S. stock market climbed Monday morning, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 425 points. By 3 p.m., stocks pared back some of the gains but the Dow was still up about 250 points, or about 1 percent over Friday’s close.

Some analysts cautioned against celebrating the deal too prematurely, noting that Beijing has repeatedly paid lip service to the idea of making major changes but ultimately done little to address the concerns that have been raised not only by the United States but by other nations.

“The U.S. investigation which led to those tariffs began in August 2017,” Derek Scissors, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote in a blog post. “If the 15 months since then didn’t do the trick, why will an extra two?”

Kudlow also acknowledged Beijing’s history of promising changes that it never ultimately makes, saying that “we’ve been down this road with China in the past, and we’ve been quite disappointed with the lack of results and follow-through.”

But he was optimistic that this time around would be different and he believed Xi and his team were fully committed. This latest round of potential outcomes was far more detailed and wide-ranging than others, Kudlow said, and also included rare hands-on participation from Xi. He added that during the dinner in Argentina, Xi “engaged in a level of detail you could even say he was selling this.”

“He wasn’t winging it — he was well prepared,” Kudlow said. “I felt that bolstered the Chinese commitment.”

Kudlow, however, contradicted a tweet from Trump late Sunday night that suggested China had agreed to cut its tariffs on U.S. auto imports.

“We don’t yet have a specific agreement on that,” Kudlow said in response to a reporter’s query. He added, however, that he did “believe that commitment was made.”

Imports of autos from other countries are subject to a 15 percent tariff, but over the summer Beijing raised that threshold to 40 percent for American exports as retaliation against Trump’s tariffs on China.

A second senior administration official also stopped short of confirming the details, saying only that the subject “certainly came up as well in discussions.”

“That’s just one of the many tariffs that has to be reduced,” White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said in an interview on NPR.

Navarro, who is one of the staunchest voices for a tough stance on China, also sought to emphasize that the Trump administration is focused on seeing structural changes and that it will not hesitate to impose higher tariffs if China does not meet the deadline.

“At the end of the day the understanding coming out of that room was very clear: 90 days,” Navarro said. “At the end of the 90 days we have actual structural changes that will yield actual, immediate, verifiable results.”

Pro-trade forces in the administration are also expected to participate in the new talks with Beijing. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, for one, will be involved in negotiating some financial aspects of the negotiations, particularly surrounding currency.

In an interview on CNBC, Mnuchin said Monday that a more permanent deal could be achieved, saying that the weekend’s meetings yielded sufficient groundwork for negotiators to build upon. He also emphasized that Trump and Xi had made specific agreements.

Mnuchin indicated there could be multiple phases of talks if “concrete” progress is made. But he said the administration is confident it would avoid a cycle of extending talks based off soft commitments from Beijing that never pan out.

“I think one of the things that’s very important is there was very specific understanding between President Trump and President Xi,” he said. “Now it’s the team’s job to turn this into a real agreement that will have deliverables, dates and real commitments.”

Adam Behsudi contributed to this report.

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