Donald Trump expects to sign trade deal with China’s Xi in November
WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Monday again said a trade deal with Beijing that will help US farmers hurt by retaliation in the grinding conflict between the economic powers is imminent.
"We are looking probably to be ahead of schedule to sign very big portion of the China deal, and we will call it phase one," he told reporters.
The deal will "take care of the farmers" as well as "some of the other things" like banking, he said in another of his impromptu briefings before departing on a trip to Chicago.
Washington and Beijing have exchanged blows for over a year, with tariffs now impacting hundreds of billions of dollars in two-way trade.
US farmers were the first to be targeted with steep duties on soya beans and pork, and the Trump administration has rolled out millions of dollars in support programmes to help those caught in the crossfire.
Now with the 2020 presidential election approaching, and Mr Trump under pressure from the impeachment inquiry in Congress, US trade officials have focused on getting a partial deal on the books.
Mr Trump confirmed that he expects to sign the pact with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Santiago, Chile, next month.
The Chinese Commerce Ministry said on Saturday that both sides agreed to "properly address each other's core concerns". China will lift a ban on US poultry imports while the US will import Chinese-made cooked poultry and catfish products, it said.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke with China's Vice-Premier Liu He on Friday last week and said they were "close to finalising some sections of the agreement".
On Monday, the office of the US Trade Representative said that it plans to consider extending for another 12 months some of the tariff exemptions granted last year.
The exclusions on speciality products, motors and medical devices, including radiation systems to treat cancer, were set to expire in December. - AFP