China agreement signed in White House ceremony
President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Wednesday signed what they call ‘phase one’ of a trade agreement between the United States and China.
“I just want to say this is a great day for both China and the United States. This is an agreement that people have been talking about for 40 years and never were able to get even a piece of paper signed,” Trump said at a luncheon he hosted after the signing ceremony.
American officials have said the agreement includes a Chinese promise to buy $40 billion to $50 billion in U.S. agricultural products, although the exact details and timing are uncertain.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the agreement “is a bonanza for American agriculture. This agreement is proof President Trump’s negotiating strategy is working. While it took China a long time to realize President Trump was serious, this China phase one deal is a huge success for the entire economy. This agreement finally levels the playing field for U.S. agriculture and will be a bonanza for America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers. China has not played by the rules for too long, and I thank President Trump for standing up to their unfair trading practices and for putting America first. We look forward to exporting to Chinese customers hungry for American products.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is running for the Democratic nomination for president, said, “China is the big winner of Trump’s ‘phase one’ trade deal with Beijing. True to form, Trump is getting precious little in return for the significant pain and uncertainty he has imposed on our economy, farmers, and workers. The deal won’t actually resolve the real issues at the heart of the dispute, including industrial subsidies, support for state-owned enterprises, cybertheft, and other predatory practices in trade and technology.
“Based on the reports we’ve seen so far, the commitments China is making, including on forced technology transfer, currency manipulation, and intellectual property protection, are almost all vague, weak, or covered by previous announcements and existing agreements,” Biden continued. “It’s no wonder Trump doesn’t want the American people to see the text of the deal until after it’s signed.
“The most notable result is likely to be increased access to China’s financial markets — something Beijing wants to do anyway. This achieves nothing for the U.S. middle class, but it’s great for Donald Trump’s Wall Street friends.
“In the absence of serious reforms, China is buying off Trump with promises of large purchases, and yet even those may only return us to recent trade levels, requiring years to make up for the damage done by Trump’s policies. Given China’s record of cheating on its trade agreements, serious questions also remain about the deal’s enforcement mechanisms. And given Trump’s record with the truth, the American people deserved the chance to evaluate all of the promises made in this deal,” Biden concluded. ❖
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