President Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signed an initial trade deal on Wednesday that will roll back some tariffs and see China boost purchases of US goods and services, defusing an 18-month conflict between the world’s two largest economies.
“This is a very important and remarkable occasion. Today, we take a momentous step, one that has never been taken before with China, toward a future with a fair and reciprocal trade as we sign Phase 1 of the historic trade deal between the United States and China,” the president said at the White House, flanked by top administration officials.
“Together, we are righting the wrongs of the past and delivering a future of economic justice and security for American workers, farmers and families.”
Liu said the two sides will work more closely to obtain tangible results and achieve a win-win relationship despite differences in their political and economic models, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.
US officials called the deal a huge win that marked a significant shift in Washington’s relations with China, but said it included a tough enforcement measure that could trigger renewed tariffs if Beijing does not live up to its promises.
The Phase 1 agreement caps a trade war marked by tit-for-tat tariffs that has hit hundreds of billions of dollars in goods, roiling financial markets, uprooting supply chains and slowing global growth.
Trump and Liu, who led the Chinese side in the trade talks with Washington, signed the 86-page Phase 1 deal at a White House event at about 11:50 a.m. before over 200 invited guests from business, government and diplomatic circles.
It is not yet clear whether the entire document will be released on Wednesday.
Trump, who entered the White House in 2017 vowing to rebalance global trade in favor of the United States, has already begun touting the deal as a pillar in his 2020 re-election campaign, calling it “a big beautiful monster” at a rally in Toledo, Ohio last week.
“Our farmers will take it in. I keep saying, ‘Go buy larger tractors, go buy larger tractors,’” Trump said.
The centerpiece of the deal is a pledge by China to purchase an additional $200 billion worth of U.S. farm products and other goods and services over a period of two years or more.
That will help reduce the bilateral US trade deficit in goods, which peaked at $420 billion in 2018.
The US had a small services trade surplus with China of $40.5 billion in 2018.
Source: New York Post