President Donald Trump said this week that he would sign “phase one” of the trade deal with China on Jan. 15 at the White House.
In a Dec. 31 tweet, Trump said he would sign the deal with “high level representatives of China” and that “at a later date” he would travel to Beijing, China, to begin talks on a “phase two” accord designed to focus on more structural reforms of the U.S.-Chinese trade relationship. No date for Trump’s trip has been announced.
The White House announced the “phase one” trade deal between the United States and China on Dec. 13, but no details have been published. Administration officials have said the text of the agreement continues to be translated and verified by both parties. Reportedly, about one-third of the 86-page phase one agreement is devoted to agricultural trade commitments. Chinese Commerce Ministry officials have said the text will be made public after it is signed by the two governments.
“The United States and China have reached an historic and enforceable agreement on a phase one trade deal that requires structural reforms and other changes to China’s economic and trade regime in the areas of intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services, and currency and foreign exchange,” according to a statement from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). “The phase one agreement also includes a commitment by China that it will make substantial additional purchases of U.S. goods and services in the coming years. Importantly, the agreement establishes a strong dispute-resolution system that ensures prompt and effective implementation and enforcement. The United States has agreed to modify its Section 301 tariff actions in a significant way.”
USTR said the United States will maintain 25 percent tariffs on approximately $250 billion of Chinese imports, as well as 7.5 percent tariffs on another approximately $120 billion of Chinese imports.
Trump said he would rescind the 5 percent tariffs on an additional $160 billion Chinese goods he previously had planned to implement on Dec. 15.
Reports circulated that in return, China would commit to increased purchases of U.S. agricultural products, reaching $40 billion to $50 billion within two years, strengthen its intellectual property protections and open its financial services markets to foreign investment.
Meanwhile, the most difficult issues in the U.S.-China trade relationship would be relegated to “phase two” negotiations scheduled to begin next year, including such matters as China’s extensive subsidies for state-owned trading enterprises and its practice of forcing foreign companies to surrender technology secrets in return for access to the Chinese market. President Trump previously has said those negotiations could continue past the November 2020 presidential election.