Details of US-China deal to be published after signing: White House

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The full text of a partial United States (US)-China trade deal will be released only after it is signed next week, the White House said on Friday.

After nearly two years of escalating conflict, US President Donald Trump and top Chinese trade envoy Liu He are due to sign a “phase one” agreement on January 15.

“The whole document will be released Wednesday,” Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, told reporters.

The signing will be preceded by a formal dinner and followed by a lunch, he added, calling the agreement a major achievement.

“This is history.”

Since the trade war started in the first half of 2018, talks between Washington and Beijing broke down acrimoniously more than once, creating doubts the economic powers would have the appetite to reach a “phase two” agreement.

Trump said this week that negotiations on the next phase would begin promptly but that signing that agreement might have to wait until after the 2020 presidential elections.

Details of the deal are scant, but some critics have claimed it amounts to a strategic retreat for the US, which cancelled some tariffs and reduced others in return for Chinese pledges to increase purchases of US exports by USD200 billion over two years, including farm goods in particular.

Many tariffs will remain in place, but Kudlow on Friday said the accord amounted to a success.

“We got so much of what we wanted in this deal,” he said.

US officials also said the agreement will touch on other areas of Chinese trade practices that were the subject of the Americans’ major grievances, such as intellectual property, financial services, foreign exchange and dispute resolution.