US President Donald Trump has said that Beijing and Washington, which are locked in a bitter trade dispute, will be inking a trade deal “very shortly,” claiming a breakthrough has been achieved in the recent talks.
Trump was speaking at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in West Palm Beach, Florida on Saturday when he made the announcement.
“We just achieved a breakthrough on the trade deal and we will be signing it very shortly,” he said, without providing any additional details as to the terms of the agreement or the timeframe in which it is expected to be signed.
Trump said that he spoke to his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping on Friday, noting that Beijing has already been “buying billions and billions of agricultural products” from US farmers. The push for China to step up purchases of US farm products has been one of the key demands of the Trump administration in the negotiations, which dragged on for almost two years without bearing much fruit.
Last week, however, Washington and Beijing announced that they finally reached “a historic and enforceable agreement” that will see the US lowering levies on $120 billion worth of Chinese imports, while 25-percent tariffs on another $250 billion worth of Chinese goods would still remain in effect.
China reciprocated by agreeing to boost purchases of American products to up to $200 billion over the next two years, including agricultural products. In addition, Beijing suspended a new tariff hike on a series of US goods, ranging from corn and wheat to vehicles and auto parts.
While stock markets rallied on the news, the lack of specifics prompted some experts to warn against jumping the gun and declaring the agreement a done deal.
In an attempt to assure the markets and the public that the differences between the US and China have already been ironed out, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week that the deal had been translated and is expected to be signed in January after some details are thrashed out.