WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that Phase 1 of trade deal with China would be signed on Jan. 15 at the White House, though considerable confusion remains about the details of the agreement. The president wrote in a tweet that he would sign the deal with "high level representatives of China" and that he would later travel to Beijing to begin talks on the next phase.
Last week, Trump said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping would host a signing ceremony to ink the Phase 1 deal. The Phase 1 deal, struck earlier this month, is expected to reduce tariffs and boost Chinese purchases of American farm, energy and manufactured goods while addressing some disputes over intellectual property.
However, no version of the text has been made public, and Chinese officials have yet to publicly commit to key planks, such as increasing imports of U.S. goods to $200 billion, nearly doubling U.S. exports to China. The United States launched a trade war against Beijing a year and half ago over allegations of unfair trade practices, such as theft of U.S. intellectual property and subsidies that unfairly benefit Chinese state-owned companies.
The United States Trade Representative said the Phase 1 deal includes stronger Chinese legal protections for patents, trademarks, copyrights, including improved criminal and civil procedures to combat online infringement, pirated and counterfeit goods. Issues such as industrial subsidies would be addressed in a later deal, U.S. authorities said. The escalating tit-for-tat tariffs, which began in July, 2018, have roiled markets and crimped economic growth worldwide.