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US likely to sign trade deal with China on Jan 15: Trump

PTI Washington | Updated on January 10, 2020 Published on January 10, 2020

US President Donald Trump (file photo)   -  REUTERS

The US will sign the first phase of a pending trade deal with China probably on January 15, President Donald Trump said on Thursday.

Beijing’s trade envoy Vice Premier Liu He is scheduled to visit the US next week to sign the interim agreement’s “Phase One”, marking a pause in the nearly two-year trade war between the two sides. “We are signing, as you know, a very big deal among many other things with China probably on January 15,” Trump told reporters at a White House event here.

Liu will lead a delegation to the US from Monday through Wednesday, Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said on Thursday. The “Phase One” of the trade deal, Trump said, is “a big percentage of the deal”.

“Some would say half. Some would say a little less or a little more than half, but it’s a tremendous percentage. It’s pretty much all for the farmers, also bankers,” he said responding to a question. “We also have regulations for a lot of different things... that people are going to be very surprised to see. But it’s a big chunk of it, and we’ll start right away negotiating Phase 2,” Trump said.

However, he said negotiations for the second phase “will take a little time”. “I think, I might want to wait to finish it until after the election because by doing that I think we can actually make a little bit better deal, maybe a lot better deal, Trump said.

The US had postponed planned tariff hikes following the announcement of the deals “Phase One” in October. However, earlier punitive duties imposed by China and the US on billions of dollars of each other’s goods stayed in place, affecting global trade.

Phase one of the deal, Trump said, could be up to USD 50 billion in farm product. That is numerous times more than they were buying in the past, the president said.

It’s going to have a huge impact, and I see farm prices are going way up. I see corn is just--had some big increases over the last little while. Cattle has been doing really well. The farmers liked me anyway. That’s what I like about the farmers, Trump asserted.

The trade deal with China, he said, will be great for farmers and for banks. Great for finance companies. Really a lot. Then we’re going to be covering the opening of China and various other things in Phase Two, Trump said.

Published on January 10, 2020

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