Lighthizer defends China trade deal that Trump has soured on – The Washington Post

“I expect them to live up to the agreement. They have indicated they will,” he said.

Appearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, Lighthizer provided a far more upbeat assessment of the deal than the president has in recent weeks. Trump repeatedly has expressed irritation with China, saying last month he had “lost a little flavor” for the trade deal and threatening to “cut off the whole relationship.” Trump has blamed the Chinese government for not doing more to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, a pandemic that has severely damaged the U.S. economy.

But Lighthizer said the Chinese would comply with the deal’s provisions, including the purchase commitments and changes required in their treatment of foreign companies’ technology secrets.

In a day-long appearance before House and Senate panels, Lighthizer defended the president’s use of tariffs to overhaul U.S. trade policy, cast doubt on prospects for quickly reaching agreements with the European Union and Britain, and pledged to crack down on any violations of a new North American trade deal that takes effect on July 1.

Lighthizer called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) “the best trade agreement in U.S. history,” but acknowledged that he anticipates issues with its implementation. The pact replaces the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which Trump has blamed