A trade deal is in the works after President Donald Trump last week pardoned tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of imports hailing from China.
Today, the American leader provided an update to the status of discussions, noting that he had a “very good talk” with Chinese President Xi Jinping and a “formal signing” is currently “being arranged.”
“China has already started large-scale purchases of agricultural product and more,” Trump wrote on Twitter, adding that he had also spoken to Xi about North Korea and Hong Kong.
The United States and China are in the midst of finalizing the legal text for a “phase one” trade deal that was initially agreed upon in October following more than a year of trade tensions that saw tit-for-tat tariffs on billions of products from each country.
As part of the limited pact, Washington has insisted that Beijing purchase greater quantities of agricultural and other products in exchange for tariff relief. American negotiators have also sought better protection for U.S. intellectual property rights and wider access to China’s financial services sector.
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More details of the initial agreement have yet to be released. On Thursday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that trade officials are expected to sign a deal in early January.
Beyond China, the U.S. has made recently headlines for its trade relations with neighbors Mexico and Canada as well as the European Union.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a new trade accord, which serves as a replacement deal for the North American Free Trade Agreement. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement still requires approval from the Senate, which could ratify the deal in early 2020.
Separately, the U.S. has been embroiled in a tariff dispute with the EU since Trump over a year ago slapped 25% tariffs on imports of steel and 10% on those of aluminum — a move he asserted would provide protection for American industrial workers. Washington also imposed duties on $7.5 billion worth of European goods in October and Trump threatened to tax $2.4 billion worth of French products early this month in retaliation for France’s new digital services tax.
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