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Trump: Initial China trade deal to be signed next month


U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday he will sign an initial phase one trade deal with China next month in what could be a major milestone in a bilateral trade war.

The ceremony Jan. 15 at the White House will include top Chinese officials, the president said on Twitter. He did not specify who would represent China, noting only it would be “high level representatives.”

“At a later date I will be going to Beijing where talks will begin on Phase Two!” Trump added.

Markets were largely flat in early morning trading with the Dow up five points, or about .02%, while the Nasdaq climbed 0.14% following Trump’s announcement.

Washington and Beijing agreed earlier this month to the partial trade deal, which saw the U.S. cancel some pending tariffs and reduce others as China vowed to increase purchases of American agricultural goods. The time since they reached the agreement has been spent on agreeing to the text’s language ahead of the formal signing.

The ongoing trade war between the world’s top two economies has sent shockwaves through international markets on fears that it could prompt a worldwide economic slowdown.

At issue for Washington is a lopsided trade imbalance with China — the U.S. had a $378.6 billion trade deficit with China in 2018, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative — as well as concerns over intellectual property theft, including what the Trump administration says is Beijing’s policy of forcing American firms to transfer intellectual know-how in order to do business in China.

Trump has imposed wave after wave of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods and China has responded in kind.

To date, the U.S. has imposed tariffs on $360 billion on Chinese imports.

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