WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — U.S. President Donald Trump said he would be signing the first phase of the China-U.S. trade deal on Jan. 15, 2020.
The United States and China have been in an ongoing trade dispute since China raised import tariffs by 25% on U.S. soybeans in July 2018 in retaliation for U.S. duties on Chinese goods. Both countries have continued to work on resolving the ongoing trade issues.
In mid-December the two countries agreed upon a preliminary trade agreement to bring an end to trade issues.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Dec. 31, Trump said, “I will be signing our very large and comprehensive phase one trade deal with China on Jan. 15. High level representatives of China will be present. At a later date I will be going to Beijing where talks will begin on phase two!”
According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), phase one of the agreement 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. It also includes a commitment by China that it will make substantial additional purchases of U.S. goods and services in the coming years.
The United States will cut certain tariffs against China as well as the threat of new tariffs.
Even though Trump has confirmed the plans to sign the trade deal China has yet to publicly commit to key issues of the agreement, according to Reuters.
If the signing is to proceed as announced via Trump, it is currently unclear who would represent China in signing the first phase of the trade deal. However, citing the South China Morning Post, Bloomberg reported that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is expected to be in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Jan. 4, 2020, to sign the first phase of the trade deal.
Earlier this week trade tensions seemed to have eased, as China approved a new genetically modified (GMO) soybean for import from the United State, Bloomberg confirmed.
China, by far the world’s largest soybean consumer, will see its demand for imported soybeans drop in the foreseeable future due to the African swine fever epidemic that has caused its hog population to be reduced by nearly 50%.
The country also is trying to become more self-sufficient. China’s soybean production increased 13% to 18.1 million tonnes in 2019, according to official data released on Dec. 6.