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US-China ‘Phase One’ Trade Deal to be Signed This Month

Leo Timm
Leo Timm covers China-related news, culture, and history. Follow him on Twitter at @kunlunpeaks
Published: January 5, 2020
U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, on June 29. (Image: YouTube/Screenshot)

The “phase one” U.S.-China trade will be signed by President Donald Trump and Chinese officials on Jan. 15 at the White House, the president announced on Dec. 31.

“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!” Trump said in a statement.  

Earlier, on Christmas Eve, Trump had said that Chinese leader Xi Jinping would “probably” be in attendance for the signing ceremony. 

The president had previously announced on Dec. 13 that the United States and China had reached an agreement on the deal, which is designed to strengthen protections for American intellectual property, open up Chinese financial markets, and increase sales of U.S. agricultural product. 

Since early 2018, the two countries, which are the world’s largest economies, have been embroiled in a trade war that has seen the imposition of tariffs by both sides on hundreds of billions of dollars of exports. 

“Details released by the administration indicate that the United States will maintain 25 percent tariffs on approximately $250 billion of Chinese imports and 7.5 percent tariffs on about $120 billion of Chinese imports — marking a 50 percent reduction in those tariffs. The deal included the cancellation of impending U.S. tariffs on $160 billion of Chinese consumer goods,” The Epoch Times reported Dec. 31. 

China will commit to buying at least $200 billion in American products and services over the next two years, of which $40 to $50 are agricultural goods, a “senior administration official” told The Epoch Times.  

(Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

China will commit to buying at least $200 billion in American products and services over the next two years, of which $40 to $50 are agricultural goods. (Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

In exchange, the United States canceled a new round of tariffs that had been scheduled for Dec. 15. China said it would lower its own tariffs, which mainly target U.S. farmers. 

China has voiced support for the deal, with top diplomat Wang Yi saying it would “provide stability in global trade.”

Chinese commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters that details of the agreement would be made public after signing. 

President Trump has long criticized the People’s Republic of China for maintaining a massive trade imbalance with the United States, stealing hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of U.S. intellectual property, and other pernicious economic activity. 

The trade war has seen some spillover into other diplomatic fronts, with officials like U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemning the PRC regime for its vast persecution of religious believers, and warning that the ruling Chinese Communist Party is bent on “international domination.”

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