China drafts trade deal

Business | Bloomberg 18 Oct 2019

Chinese officials are working on the text of an trade agreement with US negotiators and have begun discussions on the next stage, Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said at a briefing yesterday.

"The two sides are in the process of consultation on the text of the first phase agreement and are having specific discussions on the work arrangements for the next phase," Gao said.

China's aim is to end the trade war and remove all tariffs, he added.

I was earlier reported that Beijing needs further talks before it is ready to sign an agreement first made verbally last week, which would see China increase agricultural purchases from the US in exchange for a limited reprieve on tariffs.

The US claimed China agreed to gradually increase buys of soybeans, pork and other farm goods to from US$40 billion (HK$312 billion) to US$50 billion annually at the most recent talks, but China hasn't confirmed that.

Gao declined to comment when asked about that number.

"Chinese enterprises will increase purchases of American agricultural products according to domestic needs," and the United States will create good conditions for those purchases, Gao said.

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