China has downplayed Trump’s claim that the two sparring nations have reached a “very substantial phase one deal,” claiming that further discussions are required before signing.
According to a Bloomberg report, Trump jumped the gun on Friday when he told reporters that a preliminary phase one deal was complete. The agreement in question would see China agree to purchase more US goods, while Trump would withhold any further tariffs. Trump also claimed that “phase two will start almost immediately.”
The report out of China poured cold water on hopes of an immediate signature. China wishes to extend discussions to the end of October and send Vice Premier Liu He back to Washington DC to hammer out the final language. Additionally, China will demand a firm commitment from President Trump that scheduled December 15th tariff increase is off the table.
Wall Street reacted sharply to the news, sending the Dow Jones futures market tumbling more than 100 points in early trading.
While the Trump administration was quick to herald progress, Chinese media arguably saw this moment coming. Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times – China’s English-speaking newspaper – said on Saturday:
“Initial wave of comments in Chinese media all stresses rationality and calmness. Official reports didn’t mention that President Trump hopes to sign the deal next month. This shows Beijing’s concern over uncertainty and doesn’t want to raise expectations of the public.”
All eyes are now on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit where Trump and Xi Jinping will look to sign the stage one deal.
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Last modified: January 11, 2020 2:30 PM UTC