Pledges from Beijing to buy more American goods and fix some economic structural issues are meaningless victories for the U.S. if Donald Trump's administration doesn't also create ways to enforce a trade agreement with China, according to a top official from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
That comes as Chinese negotiators ready for the next round of trade talks, set to begin Tuesday in Washington. So far, reports indicate, the two countries have found common ground on China decreasing its trade surplus with the U.S. through more purchases, but sticking points remain on issues such as intellectual property theft and the subsidies Beijing gives to its domestic firms.
Still, even if Trump's team can realize its goals on those fronts, it will all come down to whether both countries actually live up to their commitments, according to Myron Brilliant, executive vice president and head of international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
"Without enforcement, this deal fails," he told CNBC's Eunice Yoon in Beijing. "Implementation and enforcement are going to be two key elements — so you need to have implementation, you need to have follow-through, but you need to have enforcement mechanisms that will ensure that both sides have trust that this deal is sustaining and verifiable."
Enforcement mechanisms could include a "snapback" in tariffs if China doesn't live up to the terms of the deal, he said. Another option, according to Brilliant, would be for the U.S. to "delay the reduction of tariffs being reduced from 10 percent down to zero" contingent on Beijing's adherence to the agreement.
Such measures are unlikely to be well received by the Chinese negotiators, and multiple media reports indicate that remains one of the biggest sticking points in the ongoing discussion. Still, Brilliant emphasized that the business community is hoping some sort of agreement will come together.