The U.S. and China have signed off on a partial, “Phase One,” trade pact that includes a Chinese pledge to buy tens of billions of dollars of U.S. farm commodities, President Donald Trump said Friday.
A Chinese representative has signed the deal, clearing up some doubts out of concern the agreement might not come to fruition as it has before, a U.S. government official tells Agri-Pulse.
“We have agreed to a very large Phase One Deal with China,” Trump tweeted. “They have agreed to many structural changes and massive purchases of Agricultural Product, Energy, and Manufactured Goods, plus much more.”
The amount of the Chinese purchases and whether it’s more than just a one-year promise has not been announced. That’s a major concern, says American Farm Bureau Federation Chief Economist John Newton told Agri-Pulse.
“The devil is in the details,” said Robert Guenther, a senior vice president for the United Fresh Produce Association. “I think we need to see this Phase One deal and what it includes. We hope this is just the start of a continued negotiation with China that can bring finality to this trade war and bring certainty to agriculture, especially the fruit and vegetable industry …”
Trump stressed that negotiations with China are far from over and talks on Phase Two will begin “immediately, rather than waiting until after the 2020 Election.”
The U.S. will not be hitting China with new tariffs on Dec. 15, as was planned, but the Trump administration also will not be withdrawing the current tariffs on roughly $370 billion worth of Chinese products, according to a statement released by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
“The Phase One agreement also includes a commitment by China that it will make substantial additional purchases of U.S. goods and services in the coming years,” the USTR said. “Importantly, the agreement establishes a strong dispute resolution system that ensures prompt and effective implementation and enforcement.”
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