President Donald Trump said Monday that negotiations for the so-called phase one of the United States’ trade deal with China were “ahead of schedule.”
“We are looking probably to be ahead of schedule to sign a very big portion of the China deal, and we’ll call it phase one but it’s a very big portion,” Trump said. “That would take care of the farmers. It would take care of some of the other things. It will also take care of a lot of the banking needs.”
The comments come ahead of Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile on Nov. 16-17.
“So we’re about, I would say, a little bit ahead of schedule, maybe a lot ahead of schedule,” the president said. “Probably we’ll sign it.”
On Friday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer spoke with China’s Vice Premier Liu He about the deal and signaled progress on negotiations over the weekend.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative released a statement following the call, noting that both parties “made headway on specific issues.”
It was announced earlier this month that Beijing would buy $40 billion to $50 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products, in exchange for a stop on the United States’ scheduled Oct. 15 tariff increase. Officials, however, have left open the potential for a tariff increase Dec. 15.