President Trump announced on Twitter he will be officially signing a large portion of the China trade agreement at the White House on January 15, 2020. Then, he will be travelling to Beijing at a future date to begin talks on Phase II.
I will be signing our very large and comprehensive Phase One Trade Deal with China on January 15. The ceremony will take place at the White House. High level representatives of China will be present. At a later date I will be going to Beijing where talks will begin on Phase Two!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2019
The deal, which was finalized earlier this month, includes a hold on planned additional tariffs and a reduction on others. China will promise to buy more agricultural goods and equipment. There is also intellectual property and theft protections that White House economists have been pressing for as part of the initial phase of the deal.
The agreement was previously expected to be signed in the first week of January, but the new date puts the monumental event the day following the CNN Democrat presidential debate scheduled for January 14.
The agreement will mark the first major step forward in the ongoing trade battle with China. According to White House officials, it includes tariff adjustments, Chinese commitments to purchase American goods, financial service reform, currency reform, intellectual property rights, and reform of the Chinese forced transfer of technology.
The President had played with the notion of waiting until after the 2020 election to renew negotiations with Beijing, a move that would have allowed him more leverage with no election considerations to interfere in negotiations. But a win on the economic and foreign relations fronts will be more feathers in his reelection cap, a prospect his campaign couldn’t pass up.
The world’s economy has remained stable despite concerns over the two largest economies butting heads. Just when fluctuations started getting uncomfortable, news from Washington DC, Beijing, or both calmed nerves enough to avoid major repercussions. Both sides have claimed stability in domestic markets, but many signs have been coming from China that the situation was hitting them harder than they were acknowledging.
With a major trade deal under his belt, the President is building an impressive first term resume. It’s enough to make Democrats want to try harder for impeachment, as an election win seems less likely every day.
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