President Trump and Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Liu signed a “Phase One” trade agreement in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday morning, after the president rambled on stage about members of Congress and business leaders who were or not in the room. The president announced that tariffs on Chinese products will be maintained until a “Phase Two” agreement, which could be a long way off, in the midst of a nearly two-year trade war that has damaged US farmers and created an obstacle to World economic growth.
“We are leaving tariffs in which people were surprised, but it’s great,” said the president. “But I will agree to remove those tariffs if we can do Phase Two. In other words, we are negotiating with the tariffs.”
It was only after the president verified the name of what appeared to be about half of the audience, denounced the “deception” of dismissal, joked about the former FBI director fired James Comey and raised the possibility of fireworks over Mount Rushmore who reached the essence of the long-awaited agreement. The teleprompter in the East Room remained on the same line for long moments, while the Chinese delegation watched and occasionally applauded politely.
“With this firm, we mark more than a simple agreement, we mark a radical change in international trade,” the president told his audience.
The agreement, according to the White House, addresses the protection and enforcement of intellectual property, ending the forced transfer of technology, the expansion of US agricultural purchases, ending currency manipulation and rebalancing the commercial relationship between states United and China. The agreement broadly discusses intellectual property protections, a key area that US negotiators long insisted should be part of any agreement.
“The United States recognizes the importance of intellectual property protection,” says the agreement. “China recognizes the importance of establishing and implementing a comprehensive legal system for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property as it transforms from a major consumer of intellectual property to a major producer of intellectual property. China believes that improving protection and compliance Intellectual property is an important country for construction, which grows in innovation-driven companies and promotes high-quality economic growth
The agreement also details the cooperation between the United States and China on agricultural products, and details dairy products, infant formula, beef and other meats. The agreement mentions soy, although it does not give many details about that product. The levies that would have severely affected American consumers, price increases on products that include mobile phones and computer monitors, have been postponed for now under the agreement.
As part of the agreement, the Chinese will also buy up to $ 200 billion in US products, including agricultural products such as soybeans and pork, offering some relief to American farmers. Prior to the signing ceremony, the director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, offered more details on China’s purchasing objectives for each of the following sectors:
- Agriculture: $ 40 to $ 50 billion
- Manufacturing: $ 75 billion
- Energy: $ 50 billion
- Financial services: $ 40 billion
“Between the two great nations, nothing like this has happened before,” Kudlow told CNBC on Wednesday. “This is such an important deal.”
The president’s economic adviser also told reporters that there will be an “enforcement mechanism” if China does not meet the objectives.
Kudlow also said that China will make changes in its criminal and civil proceedings to enforce the problems of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfer, which have been a key point of contention for the United States.
Any second phase of the agreement depends on the success of Phase One, Kudlow said. Meanwhile, the US UU. They will maintain significant tariffs as control of progress.
Former Vice President Joe Biden criticized the agreement shortly before the president signed it.
“China is the big winner of Trump’s ‘phase one’ trade deal with Beijing,” Biden said in a statement. “True to form, Trump is getting very little in exchange for the significant pain and uncertainty he has imposed on our economy, farmers and workers. The agreement will not solve the real problems at the center of the dispute, including industrial subsidies, support to state-owned companies, cyber attacks and other predatory practices in commerce and technology. “
Ben Tracy and Rachel Layne contributed to this report.