China, US officials: ‘Phase one’ trade deal could slide into next year

27-Nov-2019 Intellasia | TheHill | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Chinese and US officials say a “phase one” of the trade deal between the countries could slide into next year, Reuters reported Monday.

Chinese and US officials, lawmakers and trade experts also said the delay in agreeing on a phase one deal and the upcoming 2020 presidential election could push the second phase of the agreement until after the election.

Officials from Beijing told Reuters they don’t expect to discuss a phase two of the deal before November 2020, partly because they want to see if President Trump wins.

“It’s Trump who wants to sign these deals, not us. We can wait,” one official told Reuters.

Trump has pushed for a phase one deal as soon as possible, with a plan to tout the successful deal during his reelection campaign, a Trump official told Reuters. The president also said last month he anticipates jumping into phase two discussions right after phase one is finished.

“As soon as we finish phase one we’re going to start negotiating phase two,” another administration official told Reuters. “As far as timing around when a phase two deal could be completed, that’s not something I can speculate on.”

The US trade war with China has lasted about 16 months, affecting in particular US farmers and creating a drag on the global economy.

Phase one of the deal is expected to include Chinese commitments to buying US agricultural products and a US agreement to reduce tariffs on Chinese products. The countries have had trouble negotiating reportedly because China is calling for more reductions in tariffs.

Officials have planned for phase two to address China’s economic espionage, cyber attacks and forced technology transfer and dumping of low-priced goods with expensive government subsidies.

Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) told Reuters that phase one includes “the easy stuff” compared to phase two.

The Hill reached out to the US Trade Representative for comment.


Category: China

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