The U.S. Government denied a report that its negotiators offered to cut by one half the tariff rates on $360 billion worth of Chinese imports in exchange for certain U.S. goods Beijing agreed to purchase. "No such offer was ever made to China by the United States. There is not a single knowledgeable American negotiator who would support this falsehood," US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said in a joint statement referring to the Wall Street Journal report in this regard. "We will not speculate on why the Chinese or an American uninvolved with these negotiations would manipulate the story," a statement issued by the office of the U.S. Trade Representative said. In a rare move, the USTR named two reporters who published the news on Wall Street Journal while covering the phase one trade deal. "This is another example of reporting on an important alleged event based on secret sources, some of which may have obvious bias," according to it. Lighthizer and Mnuchin demanded that "the Wall Street Journal should make very clear that those actually involved for the United States have so clearly indicated that they are untrue, fabricated falsehoods". They also urged the New York-based business newspaper to "expose possible biases of the anonymous source". A day after the United States and China announced progress on a trade agreement, the two economic power houses had frozen their earlier decision to impose higher import tariffs on each other's goods. But neither side announced any cuts on the proposed tariff hikes. On Friday, the United States and China reached an agreement on a Phase One trade deal that requires structural reforms and other changes to China's economic and trade regime in the areas of intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services, and currency and foreign exchange. USTR said China made a commitment that it will make $200 billion additional purchases of U.S. goods and services in the coming years. In return, the United States agreed to modify its Section 301 tariff actions in a significant way. That resulted in the cancellation of a new round of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods that was set to go into effect on December 15. Also, U.S. exports to China will increase by 100 percent in 2020. Announcing the deal, USTR said, "The United States will be maintaining 25 percent tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese imports, along with 7.5 percent tariffs on $120 billion of Chinese imports". "This landmark agreement marks critical progress toward a more balanced trade relationship and a more level playing field for American workers and companies," according to Mnuchin. Lighthizer said the deal is expected to be signed in early January.
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