Trump announces US-China ‘phase 1’ trade deal, tariff truce
President Donald Trump on Friday announced a partial trade deal between the United States and China, saying a “phase one” agreement has been reached aimed at calming more than a year of global economic uncertainty as the world’s two largest economic powers imposed retaliatory tariffs on national goods.
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A new round of tariffs Trump had threatened to go into effect this month will be delayed.
“There’s nothing bigger than what we’re doing with China,” Trump said at an Oval Office photo-op with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. “And we have come to a very substantial phase one deal.”
This is the first meeting between the two since earlier this year and the first high-level talks since negotiations broke down amid trade disagreements.
Stock markets surged earlier Friday when the president hinted in a tweet that “good things are happening” in anticipation of the U.S.-China talks.
Before departing the White House for a rally, the president said that the specifics of the deal are being finalized and suggested that U.S. farmers–who took a hit from China’s punitive tariffs–could be among the first to see the benefits of the trade deal.
“We’re papering it now, over the next three or four or five weeks, hopefully it will get finished,” he said. “I mean, it’s incredible the deal for farmers. I think they’ll have to go out and buy more land and buy bigger tractors.”
The president said the partial trade deal covers intellectual property, financial services, and $40-$50 billion related to agricultural products.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer have been engaging the Chinese delegation since talks between the two nations resumed.
The tariff hike planned this month on $250 billion dollars worth of Chinese products will no longer go into effect as Mnuchin described both sides as “having reached a fundamental understanding of the key issues.”
The retaliatory tariffs imposed by both sides eventually reached a fever pitch that negotiations between both sides have been consistently delayed to the point that they are now widely considered as a of cause of economic uncertainty, triggering fears of a global economic slowdown.
The trade talks come amid a impeachment inquiry triggered by a whistleblower’s complaint accusing the president of pressuring Ukraine’s president on a phone call to investigate political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s role with a Ukrainian energy company. Last week, Trump went so far as to publicly say China should investigate the Bidens.
China has said it will not do what Trump suggested.
“We have no intention of intervening in the domestic affairs of the United States. Our position is consistent and clear,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.
When asked by ABC Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl whether he mentioned an investigation of Joe Biden to the Chinese delegation, Trump said it wasn’t discussed.
“They can do whatever they want,” he said. “We have to look into corruption but it was not brought up.”
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