Liu He and Donald TrumpImage copyright
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Liu He and Donald Trump

The US and China are signing an agreement aimed at easing a trade war that has rattled markets and weighed on the global economy.

Speaking in Washington, US President Donald Trump hailed the pact as a “really momentous breakthrough”.

China has pledged to boost US imports by $200bn above 2017 levels and strengthen intellectual property rules.

However the majority of tariffs remain in place, prompting business groups to call for talks to continue.

“There’s a lot of work to do ahead,” said Jeremie Waterman, president of the China Center at the US Chamber of Commerce. “Bottom line is, they should enjoy today but not wait too long to get back to the table for phase two.”

The US and China have engaged in a tit-for-tat tariff war since 2018, which has led to extra import taxes being levied on more than $450bn worth of traded goods. The ongoing dispute has disrupted trade flows, dampened global economic growth and unnerved investors.

‘Righting wrongs’

In the deal, the US has agreed to halve some of the extra tariffs in exchange for promises from China over intellectual property and commitments to purchase more American goods.

In a ceremony in Washington, attended by top Republican donors and business leaders, Mr Trump called the deal “historic”.

“Together we are righting the wrongs of the past and delivering a future of economic justice and security,” he said. 

Mr Trump has described the deal as a “phase one” agreement.

He said the administration will take up other issues – such as China’s state subsidies – in future negotiations. He defended maintaining the bulk of the tariffs, saying they will provide leverage in future talks.

The US accuses China of “unfair” business practices, such as providing subsidies for domestic businesses and administrative rules that have made it difficult for US firms to operate in the country.

This deal addresses some, but far from all, of those issues.

source: bbc.com

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