National: President Donald Trump signs an initial trade deal with China that includes pledges from Beijing to more than double its purchases from American farmers in the first year

U.S.-China Trade Deal Points:

  • Buy American: Beijing will increase purchases of U.S. goods and services by at least $200 billion over the next two years. Fiscal Year 2017 will be used as the benchmark.
  • Tariff relief: The U.S. will cut the tariff rate in half—from 15% to 7.5%—imposed on September 1 targeting roughly $120 billion in Chinese products, including shoes and apparel. The U.S. will not impose tariffs of 15% on roughly $156 billion in consumer products.
  • Technology transfer: China will no longer force foreign companies to transfer technology to Chinese companies as a precondition for market access.
  • Intellectual property: Measures—though unspecified—are put in place to address intellectual property theft and other IP concerns.
  • Financial services: Removing barriers to expansion for U.S. banking, insurance and other financial services companies in China.
  • Currency measures: Measures aimed at stopping China from devaluing its currency.
  • Dispute resolution: A new arrangement for the two nations to resolve disputes through consultations.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an initial trade deal with China that includes pledges from Beijing to more than double its purchases from American farmers in the first year.

The 86-page agreement comes after nearly two years of fraught negotiations and a punishing trade war between the world’s two largest economies that hit US soybean producers especially hard.
US taxpayers have spent about $28 billion bailing out farmers, including payments to trade groups and purchases from food banks.
The pause in the trade war gives Trump something concrete to offer farmers, a crucial element of his Midwestern firewall, heading into the 2020 election.
“Together we are righting the wrongs of the past and delivering a future of economic justice and security,” Trump said from the East Room of the White House.
“Most people thought this could never happen,” he said.
Trump said he’d visit China in the “not too distant future” to reciprocate a visit to Washington from China’s top trade negotiator.
In a letter, China’s President Xi Jinping told Trump that the agreement was a sign their two countries could resolve differences through dialogue.
The letter, which China’s vice premier and top negotiator Liu He read aloud in the East Room during the trade signing event, struck an optimistic tone about the future of Washington-Beijing ties.
The deal, Xi wrote, was “good for China, the US and the whole world.”
Saying he would remain in “close touch” with Trump, Xi said he hoped the US would treat Chinese companies fairly.
Under the agreement, China has promised to buy an additional $12.5 billion in US agricultural products in year one, and then $19.5 billion year two. Those commitments come atop roughly $24 billion in farm purchases that China made in 2017, before the trade war started.
Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall called the agreement an “important step.”
“China was once the largest market for U.S. agricultural products but has dropped to fifth largest since retaliatory tariffs were introduced. This agreement will help turn around two years of declining agricultural exports,” he said in statement.
The pledges to buy more farm products are part of a broader $200 billion package that includes manufactured goods and energy exports. The deal will take effect 30 days after signing.
Amb. Robert Lighthizer, the President’s top trade negotiator, described the deal as a “massively good first step” describing purchases as helping create access to American companies.

“Are we an ideal spot? No,” Lighthizer told reporters at the White House before the signing. “Is this a massively good first step? Yes.”


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