Trump says trade deal with China to be signed ‘very shortly’
He says the US and China have achieved a breakthrough on phase one
FLORIDA US President Donald Trump on Saturday said the US and China would "very shortly" sign their so-called phase one trade pact.
"We just achieved a breakthrough on the trade deal and we will be signing it very shortly," Mr Trump said in Florida.
The phase one deal was announced earlier this month as part of a bid to end the months-long tit-for-tat trade war between the world's two largest economies, which has roiled markets and hit global growth.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last Thursday he had no doubt Washington and Beijing will sign a new partial trade agreement next month, marking a truce after nearly two years of conflict.
"I'm very confident," Mr Mnuchin told CNBC.
"It's just going through what I would consider to be a technical legal scrub and we'll be releasing the document and signing it in the beginning of January," he said in an interview on the White House lawn.
Deals have fallen through in the past.
But Mr Mnuchin said this time both sides were on the same page.
"It's already on paper and it's already translated," he said.
"It's not that it's open to renegotiation or that there are any open issues."
Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed progress in trade talks, state news agency Xinhua reported
The Xinhua report, which did not quote Mr Xi directly, said the Chinese leader praised trade's role in making "significant contributions to the stability and development of China-US relations and the advancement of the world economy".
The report urged "mutual benefits and win-win outcomes" and for both sides to "respect each other's national dignity, sovereignty".
Phase one is a partial resolution that is expected to see China boost imports of US agricultural and other goods, while Washington has eased massive tariffs on Chinese imports.
It falls a long way short of the fundamental changes in Chinese trade policies that Mr Trump had sought and which will now be put off to a second phase.
Questions have also been raised about the first phase, given that the details have yet to be published in writing. - REUTERS, AFP