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U.S., China reaffirm commitment to Phase 1 trade deal after call

US, China Reaffirm Commitment to Phase 1 Trade Deal After the Call

WASHINGTON – The top US and Chinese trade officials reaffirmed their commitment to the Phase 1 trade deal which has seen China fall behind on its obligations to purchase U.S. goods, bringing much-needed relief to markets nervousness on Tuesday.
The pledge was made in a phone call between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He – their first official dialogue since early May came amid Growing concerns that the deal may be on the fragile ground in an increasingly confrontational situation.
“Both sides see progress and are committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure the success of the agreement,” the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) said in a statement after what it described as a “regular call”.
The call was originally scheduled for August 15, six months after the launch of the trade deal. But Trump, who has frequently expressed his anger with China over the coronavirus pandemic, said last week that, he postponed talks with China because “I don’t want to deal with them now”.
Washington and Beijing have traded sanctions and beards over a growing list of issues, including the new national security law imposed on Hong Kong, China’s contested land claims in the South China Sea, the COVID-19 pandemic and the American accusations of threats to national security posed by the Chinese technology companies.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce confirmed that the two countries had had a “constructive dialogue” and agreed to continue to push forward the implementation of the Phase 1 trade agreement.
The USTR said the two sides “addressed the steps China has taken to effect structural changes” on issues such as protecting intellectual property rights, removing barriers for U.S. companies in the agricultural and financial services and the elimination of forced technology transfers.
“The parties also discussed the significant increase in purchases of U.S. products by China as well as future actions needed to implement the agreement,” he said.
News of the call helped push Asian stocks up.
“Talks between the United States and China are upbeat for most commodities as Trump is in desperate need of good news to help with the election,” said Ole Houe, director of advisory services at the farm brokerage firm IKON Commodities in Sydney.
“This could lead to increased demand for American products.”
Chinese purchases of U.S. goods are well below the pace needed to cope with a $ 77 billion increase in the first year specified in the deal, official data shows.
While China has recently stepped up its purchases of agricultural products, including soybeans, it is nowhere near fulfilling its commitment to buy $36.5 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products under the deal. Investments that Trump relied on to bolster his support in the farming/agrarian states that backed him in 2016.
The United States exported just $ 7.274 billion worth of agricultural products to China in the first half of the year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The U.S. comments “showed that they think we are going to keep buying from the U.S., at least before the election takes place. And we will,” an agricultural goods trader with a Chinese state-owned firm told Reuters, declining to be identified as he was not authorised to speak with media.
“We will maintain the position to buy as much as possible, but it’s tough to say if the targets can be met.”
China bought just 5% of the $25.3 billion in targeted energy products from the United States in the first half of 2020. Chinese state-owned oil companies have reserved tankers for transporting at least 20 million barrels of U.S. crude for August and September.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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