Phase I of a much-awaited U.S.-China trade deal will be signed on January 15. This was announced by President Donald Trump on the eve of the New Year. "I will be signing our very large and comprehensive Phase One Trade Deal with China on January 15," he said on Twitter. At a ceremony that will take place at the White House, high level representatives of China will be present. Trump had previously intendded to sign the deal with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, but his latest announcement indicates Chief Trade Negotiator Vice Premier Liu He will be signing the accord for Beijing. Trump tweeted that he will be going to Beijing at a later date to begin talks on Phase Two of the trade agreement. The first phase of the agreement is expected to pave the way for a truce in the prolonged bitter trade war, and improve relations between the two economic superpowers. 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. Washington was set to impose a new 15 percent tariff on approximately $160 billion worth of Chinese goods from December 15. 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 1 to 7.5 percent from 15 percent. However, the office of U.S. Trade Representative said a 25 percent tariff on approximately $250 billion worth of Chinese goods will remain in place. 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. Chinese purchase of U.S. goods was said to be one of the key sticking points in the negotiations. The agreement includes protections for intellectual property, food and farm goods, financial services and foreign exchange. The agreement reportedly includes a provision for dispute resolution.
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