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Trump says US and China to hold signing ceremony for phase-one trade deal

Trump XiNICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images

  • President Donald Trump said Tuesday that the US and China would hold a formal ceremony to ink a so-called phase-one deal between the two sides. 
  • The two nations revealed this month details of the agreement, which suspended planned escalations and lowered tariffs on a portion of affected products.
  • The 86-page text of the deal is expected to be signed in January after legal scrubs and a translation process are completed the first week of January.
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President Donald Trump said Tuesday that the US and China would hold a formal ceremony to ink an interim trade agreement to defuse a tit-for-tat dispute between the two sides. 

“We will be having a signing ceremony,” Trump said to reporters. “We will ultimately, yes, when we get together. And we’ll be having a quicker signing because we want to get it done.” 

The two nations revealed this month details of the so-called phase-one deal, which suspended planned escalations and lowered tariffs on a portion of affected products. The deal also appeared to secure commitments from China on some of the issues at the center of a more than yearlong standoff between the world’s two largest economies. 

Among those were unspecified changes to Chinese rules on intellectual property and currency movements, as well as pledges to increase market access for foreign banks. The Trump administration said roughly $50 billion worth of additional US farm purchases would be included, a quota China has not confirmed. 

Text of the 86-page agreement has not yet been released to the public. It is expected to be signed in January after legal scrubs and a translation process are completed the first week of January, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said this month. 

Details of the signing ceremony remain elusive. Lighthizer has said the agreement would be signed at a ministerial level, meaning it would not involve Trump or President Xi Jinping. Other administration officials, including White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, have said the two leaders would sign it.

The phase-one agreement could pave the way for a broader detente between the US and China, which is expected to require at least two more stages.

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