"We have to have the ability to take proportional action, unilaterally, to make sure we have a situation where they [China] are following an agreement," Lighthizer said. "If we can complete this [negotiating] effort, and again I say if, and if we can reach a satisfactory conclusion to the all-important outstanding issue of enforceability as well as some other concerns, we might be able to have an agreement that helps us turn the corner in our economic relationship with China".
Lighthizer spent three hours testifying before the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, where members from both political parties criticized China for decades of cheating on earlier trade agreements and unbridled theft of technology and trade secrets.
"This a settlement of a 301 action, the president using his power under Section 301, which has been delegated [by Congress] and it’s an executive agreement which the Constitution gives the president the right to enter into", Lighthizer said in testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday. "We have no intention of submitting it to Congress".
The testimony followed four days of intense negotiations with senior Chinese leaders in Washington that ended on Sunday, with some officials remaining in Washington to continue negotiations.
One US goal would be to set up monthly bilateral meetings of officials from the two nations' respective trade offices to address unfair trade practices, quarterly meetings at the assistant secretary level and semi-annual Cabinet level talks, Lighthizer said.