The trade agreement signed on Wednesday, Jan. 15, signaled that the highly delicate and often scrappy trade negotiations between the United States and China had thawed and given rise to an even better second deal.
President Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signed the “Phase One” trade agreement and is said to contain a commitment from China to purchase $200 billion of U.S. goods, including at least $50 billion in agricultural products over two years, reported The Hill.
“Today we take a momentous step, one that has never been taken before with China, toward a future of fair and reciprocal trade as we sign Phase One of the historic trade deal between the United States and China,” President Trump said. “Together, we are righting the wrongs of the past and delivering a future of economic justice and security for American workers, farmers, and families.”
The written details of the agreement, not released before the signing, are said to include halving the 15 percent tariffs on $120 billion of Chinese imports but leaving 25 percent tariffs on an additional $250 billion of imports in place.
The planned increase in the tariff rate that was scheduled for October, as well as the new tariffs set to be imposed in December, will be dissolved.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Wednesday should China not honor its trade commitments, the president could reapply the tariffs.
There are provisions in the agreement on intellectual property, agriculture, forced technology transfer, financial services, and currency, reported The Hill.
“There are certain areas of other services away from financial services that will be in Phase Two. There’s certain additional cybersecurity issues that will be in Phase Two. So, there are still more issues to deal with. And we’ll address those,” said Mnuchin.
The signing ceremony took place in the East Room of the White House. It included a high-ranking Chinese delegation, top administration officials, and several high-profile guests, including Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs, GOP donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who served as an intermediary for the administration in the negotiations with China.
“Early in this administration, you made it clear that the era of economic surrender was over, and you took a strong stand for American jobs and American workers,” Vice President Pence said to President Trump. “You said to our friends in China that things had to change, and thanks to your leadership, today change begins,” he added.