US President Donald Trump said he will sign the first phase of a trade deal with China on January 15, sealing an agreement that sees the Asian nation raising purchases of American farm goods in exchange for lower tariffs on some of its products. The date has yet to be confirmed by the Chinese side.
“The ceremony will take place at the White House,” Trump said on his Twitter account Tuesday, adding he will be going to Beijing, where talks will begin on the second phase of the deal.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang said Thursday he has no new information on the trade deal, and didn’t comment on the signing. He repeated that he hoped the US will do more to build mutual trust.
Despite the lack of clarity on the signing date, Beijing is still indicating it also wants the deal. A commentary on the front page of People’s Daily on Tuesday said, “it is every one’s wish that China and the US will sign the phase one agreement.”
I will be signing our very large and comprehensive Phase One Trade Deal with China on January 15. The ceremony will take place at the White House. High level representatives of China will be present. At a later date I will be going to Beijing where talks will begin on Phase Two!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2019
The deal, announced December 13, sees the US suspending plans for new tariffs on $160 billion of Chinese imports including smart-phones and toys and reducing some existing levies. China agreed to increase its purchases of American agricultural products and has made new commitments on intellectual property protections, forced technology transfers by US companies and currency practices. The move at least temporarily calms fears of an escalating trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
The precise terms of the 86-page agreement have not been revealed. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said December 13 he expected to sign the accord together with his Chinese counterpart, Vice Premier Liu He, in early January in Washington, and that it would be released publicly then.