Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that he will sign next January 15 the “very big and wide” phase one of the trade agreement with China at the White House with the presence of high officials from Beijing but without President Xi Jinping.

“I will be signing our very large and comprehensive phase one of the trade agreement with China on January 15. The ceremony will take place at the White House. High-level representatives from China will be present,” Trump reported on his Twitter account.

Initially, the president had noted that he would be joined by Xi at the agreement’s ratification ceremony.

“At a later date, I will be traveling to Beijing, where the talks for the second phase will begin,” he added.

After nearly 18 months of trade war and subsequent tariff escalation, Trump announced in mid-December the conclusion of the first phase of a pact with China, which includes the partial removal of tariffs and increased Chinese purchases of domestic products.

Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen confirmed that the first phase of the pact addresses issues such as technology transfer, intellectual property, trade expansion and the establishment of dispute resolution mechanisms, among others.

Both Washington and Beijing have committed to phasing out the levies that both parties have imposed on themselves during the dispute.

The agreement implies, however, that US tariffs of 25% on Chinese imports valued at USD 250 billion are maintained, along with reduced charges of 7.5% on additional imports valued at approximately USD 120 billion.

The negotiations between the two parties have been subject to a number of shocks, with contradictory information and veiled criticism, since the announcement in October of the principle of an agreement.
The trade tensions between the two major world economies, which began last year, have had profound consequences.

In its latest world growth forecasts, published in October, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered its expansion projections to 3% this year, two tenths of a percent less than in July, weighed down by the doubts that this dispute has generated.

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