China, US sign phase 1 trade deal; tariffs to stay for now

The United States and China yesterday signed the first phase of a trade deal, which includes intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement, ending forced technology transfer, dramatic expansion of US agriculture, removing barriers to US financial services, ending currency manipulation, rebalancing US-China trade ties and effective dispute resolution.

The agreement was signed by President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. Trump described the deal as ‘historic’ and "a momentous step...to a future of fair and reciprocal trade," concluding more than a year of tough negotiations.

The two countries are "writing the wrongs of the past," Trump said, adding that he would soon visit China. This is a transformative deal that will bring great benefits for the two countries, Trump said, hoping that this will even lead to a peaceful world.

Trump said China has made substantial and enforceable commitment to protecting American ideas.

At the same time, he said, punitive tariffs on China would remain in place till the time the second phase of the trade deal is agreed.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, in his letter to Trump which was read out at the signing ceremony in the White House, said the phase one deal was good for China and the United States and it needed to be earnestly implemented by both sides. Xi also hoped Chinese companies will be treated fairly by the US.

Liu said China and the US, the world's two largest economies and two major players in international affairs with great responsibilities, reached the phase one deal "with the big picture in mind" and by "acknowledging and properly managing" their differences.

China will work with the United States on the principle of equality and mutual respect to ensure good implementation of their phase-one economic and trade agreement, he said.

He added that the deal is not in conflict with the legitimate rights and interests of any third party, and is also in accordance with World Trade Organisation (WTO) regulations.

"There have been several setbacks in negotiations, but we were not overwhelmed by difficulties," Liu added.

 

 

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