Dec 31, 2019 - Economy & Business

Trump says he'll sign "phase one" trade deal with China on Jan. 15

President Trump tweeted Tuesday that he will sign the "phase one" trade deal with China in a ceremony at the White House on Jan. 15.

The intrigue: Trump did not indicate that Chinese President Xi Jinping would be in Washington for the occasion, saying that "high level representatives" would be present instead. Reports earlier this week indicated that Vice Premier Liu He, China's top trade negotiator, would be the one to sign on behalf of China.

  • The president also added that he would head to Beijing "at a later date" to begin talks for the "phase two" deal.

The big picture: From what has been publicly announced, the "phase one" deal averted a new round of tariffs scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 15, and a Chinese official said at the time that the U.S. would reduce its tariffs on Chinese goods in stages.

  • It also included an agreement from China to increase imports from the U.S. and purchase agricultural goods.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Dan Primack: The "phase one" deal is Trump trying to save face — as it seems to basically be an agriculture purchase agreement that does little to address the core issues that the president supposedly cares about.

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