Mon, 28 Sep 2020

US, China to Sign Trade Deal

Voice of America
15 Jan 2020, 22:05 GMT+10

The United States and China are due to sign an initial trade deal Wednesday to resolve some of the issues at the heart of an economic standoff that has persisted between the world's two largest economies for the past 18 months.

U.S. President Donald Trump is hosting Chinese Vice Premier Liu He for a signing ceremony at the White House.

The sides agreed to what they are calling the Phase 1 agreement in mid-December.

It calls for China to boost its purchases of U.S. goods, halt the practice of forcing foreign companies to transfer technology, and to not manipulate its currency in order to makes its exports cheaper.

The United States has already removed its designation of China as a currency manipulator, and under the trade deal it is halting plans to add new tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods, while cutting in half tariffs on about $110 billion of Chinese products.

U.S. tariffs will remain in place on about $360 billion of imports from China.

The agreement also does not address China's subsidies to state-owned companies, an issue likely to be discussed in the next phase of trade talks.

Additional negotiations are not expected anytime soon.

"I think both sides are reasonably happy with this compromise even though it doesn't really tackle the core issues," Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told VOA.

He said the deal amounts to a "modest win-win for both sides" with China gaining a reprieve from the trade war that has harmed its economic growth and the Trump administration getting to set aside a major issue until after his re-election campaign.

"From President Trump's perspective, it gives him a victory of sorts," Alden said. "His strongest card in November is the U.S. economy. He doesn't want to do anything to upset the stock markets, so a period of kind of calm on the U.S.-China front also serves the administration's interests at this point."

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