U.S., China Reach Agreement On Phase One Trade Deal

After months of negotiations, U.S. and Chinese officials announced Friday the two economic superpowers have reached an agreement on a phase one trade deal. The agreement includes suspending planned tariffs on Chinese goods as well as scaling back existing tariffs in exchange for Chinese structural reforms and purchases of U.S. goods. The announcement of the agreement comes just two days before a new 15 percent tariff on approximately $160 billion worth of Chinese goods was set to be imposed. In addition to suspending the new tariffs, the U.S. agreed to cut the tariffs on approximately $120 billion worth of Chinese goods imposed on September 1st to 7.5 percent from 15 percent. However, the office of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said a 25 percent tariff on approximately $250 billion worth of Chinese goods will remain in place. Chinese officials suggested the existing tariffs would continue to be phased out, but that was not confirmed by the statement from the USTR. In return for the lower tariffs, China has agreed to make structural reforms and other changes to its economic and trade regime in the areas of intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services, and currency and foreign exchange. China has also committed to make substantial additional purchases of U.S. goods and services in the coming years, the USTR said. U.S. and Chinese officials did not specify the dollar amount of purchases of U.S. goods, which was said to be one of the key sticking points in the negotiations. President Donald Trump called the agreement an "amazing deal for all" and said negotiations on a phase two deal would be begin "immediately, rather than waiting until after the 2020 Election." The phase one deal still needs to go through legal procedures as the U.S. and China move toward officially signing the agreement. A phase one deal was originally announced by Trump back in October, with the president claiming at the time that the agreement could be signed by both sides at an economic summit in Chile in mid-November. The subsequent cancellation of the summit as well as disagreements over the details delayed the deal until today's announcement of an apparently finalized agreement.