After an annual work conference, the Chinese Commerce Ministry on December 29 told the media in an official statement that it has proactively dealt with trade frictions with the United States in 2019. The statement on the ministry’s website read that they have implemented the decisions of the central government and “resolutely safeguarded the interests of the country and the people”. The United States and China announced a “Phase one” agreement this month that would reduce some US tariffs in exchange for Chinese purchases of American farm products and other goods.
United States President Donald Trump said on December 24 that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping will have a signing ceremony for the 'first phase' of the US-China trade deal agreed to this month. Trump told reporters that there will be a signing ceremony when the two leaders will get together. The US President further added that it would be a 'quicker signing' because he and Xi 'want to get it done' and the deal is complete.
On Sunday, China’s commerce ministry informed the media that it is in close touch with the United States on signing the trade deal, and both sides are still going through necessary procedures before the signing. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on December 13 that representatives from both the countries would sign the Phase I trade deal agreement in the first week of January. However, Beijing has not yet confirmed specific components of the deal that were released by the US officials.
After nearly two and a half years, a deal has been in the negotiations between Washington and Beijing. Besides the reduction of tariffs and the purchase of farm goods, Beijing has even promised the protection of US intellectual property. This will curb the coerced transfer of American technology to the Chinese firms and open the country's financial services market to American firms along with avoiding manipulation of currency. However, the date to officially sign the trade agreement has still not been decided.
Several Chinese officials have told an international news agency that the wordings of the trade pact still remain a delicate issue in the current stage of negotiations. According to a Beijing report, the first stage of the agreement is a 'phased achievement'. However, it still does not mean that trade disputes between both the economies will be 'settled once and for all'.