Phase one of the China-US agreement announced, but no signature yet
by Wang Zhicheng

The United States will not impose a 15 per cent duty on US6 billion of Chinese imports and will reduce tariffs to 7.5 per cent on US$ 120 billion worth of Chinese products. China agrees to buy US$ 40-50 billion in US agricultural products in 2020, twice as much as in 2017, before the trade war. The deal protects intellectual property and adds enforcement mechanisms. Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong stock markets are up.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - China and the United States have agreed on a phase one deal that could end their trade war. US President Donald Trump announced the agreement two days ago on twitter, but an official statement came only last night.

The two countries worked out a nine-chapter accord that covers, among others, intellectual property, technology transfer, food and agricultural products, said Wang Shouwen, China’s Vice Minister of Commerce.

The Office of the US Trade Representative called the agreement “historic and enforceable”. Thus, the US will not impose a 15 per cent duty on US156 billions of Chinese imports, like smartphones, electronic games and other products for the general public. This increase was set to come into effect tomorrow, 15 December.

Duties imposed last September on US0 billion dollars of Chinese imports will drop from 15 to 7.5 per cent. The US will maintain however a 25 per cent duty on US$ 250 billion of Chinese industrial imports, imposed two years ago.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that China agreed to buy US$ 40-50 billion in US agricultural products in 2020, twice as much as it bought in 2017, before the trade war broke out.

Chinese officials, including Vice Minister of Agriculture Han Jun, have not confirmed the figures, but they are now saying that China will increase the import of some agricultural products that it urgently needs, like pork and poultry.

Chinese Finance Vice Ministry Liao Min pointed out that the most urgent thing now is the signing and implementation of the partial agreement, since phase two of negotiations will depend on phase one.

Both countries still have to proceed to detailed translations and legal review of the text and discuss arrangements for signing the agreement.

In China, the country’s main stock market indexes reacted positively to the news of a deal.

The indexes of the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges rose 1.8 per cent and 1.7 per cent respectively on Friday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was up by 2.6 per cent.