US, China trade deal ‘alive and well’

New York: Top US and Chinese trade officials reaffirmed their commitment to a Phase 1 trade deal and discussed how to increase lagging Chinese purchases of American goods, lending support to financial markets on Tuesday.

The pledge was made in a telephone call between US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He – their first formal dialogue since early May – amid concern the deal could be on shaky ground because of worsening US-China ties, reports Reuters.

“Both sides see progress and are committed to taking the steps necessary to ensure the success of the agreement,” the US Trade Representative’s office (USTR) said in a statement after what it described as a regularly scheduled call.

China’s commerce ministry confirmed the two sides had a “constructive dialogue” and agreed to continue pushing forward the implementation of the Phase 1 trade deal.

The USTR said they “addressed steps that China has taken to effectuate structural changes” on issues including protecting intellectual property rights, removing impediments for US firms in the financial services and agriculture sectors and eliminating forced technology transfers. “The parties also discussed the significant increases in purchases of US products by China as well as future actions needed to implement the agreement,” it said.

Chinese purchases of US goods are running well behind the pace needed to meet a first-year increase of $77 billion specified in the deal, according to official data.

The United States exported just $7.274 billion in agricultural goods to China in the first half of the year, according to the US Census Bureau.

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