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US trade representative says phase-one trade deal is ‘totally done’ and will double exports to China in two years

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Via CNBC

Liu He, China’s vice premier, right stands with Robert Lighthizer, U.S. trade representative, while arriving for a meeting at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Sunday that the phase one U.S.-China trade deal reached on Friday is “totally done,” and it will nearly double U.S. exports to China over the next two years.

U.S. and Chinese officials announced on Friday that the U.S. and China had finally agreed to the phase one agreement after a contentious 18-month trade war. China agreed to billions of dollars in agricultural purchases from the U.S., while President Donald Trump vowed not to pursue a new round of tariffs set for Sunday. The two major economies plan to sign the partial accord in the first week of January.

“There’s a translation period. There are some scrubs,” Lighthizer said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “This is totally done. Absolutely.”

Lighthizer, one of the lead negotiators in talks with Chinese officials, previously said that the U.S. would keep the 25% tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese imports, but would reduce tariffs on $120 billion in products to 7.5% from 15%. The tariff reduction will take effect 30 days after the agreement is signed.

“We have a list that will go manufacturing, agriculture, services, energy and the like. There’ll be a total for each one of those,” he said. “Overall, it’s a minimum of 200 billion dollars. Keep in mind, by the second year, we will just about double exports of goods to China, if this agreement is in place. Double exports.”

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However, many details of the deal still appear murky. The agreement includes changes regarding intellectual property, technology and financial services. Beijing said it would substantially increase agricultural purchases, but didn’t specify how much, and Trump has insisted that China will buy more American crops.

“But ultimately, whether this whole agreement works is going to be determined by who’s making the decisions in China, not in the United States,” Lighthizer said. “If the hardliners are making the decisions, we’re going to get one outcome. If the reformers are making the decisions, which is what we hope, then we’re going to get another outcome.”


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