In a tweet Tuesday morning, the president said “high level representatives of China” will attend the signing. Trump added that he will travel to Beijing “at a later date” to start talks toward a second piece of the trade pact.
I will be signing our very large and comprehensive Phase One Trade Deal with China on January 15. The ceremony will take place at the White House. High level representatives of China will be present. At a later date I will be going to Beijing where talks will begin on Phase Two!
The White House did not immediately respond to a request to comment on which top Chinese officials will be present at the signing. Reports this week indicated Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, Beijing’s top trade negotiator, could sign the agreement.
The world’s two largest economies reached a partial trade deal earlier this month as they try to de-escalate a simmering trade war. Under the pact, Washington agreed to cancel some new tariffs and reduce rates for other duties, and China said it would buy more U.S. agricultural products. It also includes changes related to intellectual property and technology.
The two sides have worked in recent weeks to hash out the agreement’s language.
Trump sees striking a broad trade agreement and cracking down on Chinese trade abuses as a priority ahead of his 2020 reelection bid. The tariff battle between the U.S. and China has worried investors, who fear it will drag on economic growth.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump trade advisor Peter Navarro — who has called for tougher measures to crack down on China than many in the White House — told CNBC that the deal has “great stuff in it.” He pointed to provisions related to intellectual property theft and access to financial markets.
Trump, who once suggested he would prefer to wait until after the 2020 election to strike a trade deal with China, is now pushing to move forward with a second phase.
Under the first piece of the agreement, the U.S. canceled tariffs that were set to take effect earlier this month. The White House will leave 25% duties on $250 billion in Chinese goods in place, and cut existing tariffs on another $120 billion in products to 7.5%.