US-Chinese trade agreement is “not a catastrophe” for both sides, according to White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.
The White House announced Monday that it will formally announce that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is dead in the water after more than five months of negotiations.
While the deal is far from perfect, Cohn said it is a step in the right direction and that he would be happy to be able to sign the deal in the first 100 days of his presidency.
“We’re at a point now where we’re on a path that is good,” Cohn told reporters at the White House.
“The president is committed to being a great leader and we’ll do everything in our power to make sure that the United States can be a great trading partner for China.”
While there are still trade issues to resolve, Cohn was happy to see the agreement reached with the goal of reaching a better deal with China, which the US is the world’s second-largest economy.
However, there are also trade issues the US will have to address as well, such as intellectual property issues, trade barriers, intellectual property rights, and the “global gag rule” that limits US companies from discussing trade with foreign companies.
Under the terms of the deal, US companies would have to abide by agreements that include intellectual property, copyright, and trademark laws.
But Cohn said that the US government was still working on trade policy.
“I think it’s not a disaster, but it’s a step on the road,” he said.
“It is a way to bring back a path where we can continue to have a good relationship with China and we can bring that relationship to where it needs to be.”
China’s economic rise is being mirrored by the US economy.
The US has lost jobs to China in the last few years and a recent study found that Chinese workers are more likely to be college graduates and to hold advanced degrees.
Cohn also said that he is not worried about the potential for a trade war between the US and China.
“If they continue to do what they are doing, we’re going to have trade wars,” he added.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers has been pushing for a new trade deal since the TPP was first introduced in late 2009, but that process has dragged on for so long that the two sides have come to an impasse.
According to a March report by the Congressional Research Service, the US has had to spend over $300 billion since 2009 to negotiate a trade deal.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly pledged to renegotiate the pact, but the negotiations have stalled due to disagreements over the intellectual property protections, intellectual currency rights, trade restrictions, and other issues.