China says in touch with US on signing of Phase 1 trade deal

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China and the United States are in close communication over the signing of their Phase 1 trade deal, China’s commerce ministry said, which will see lower US tariffs on Chinese goods and higher purchases of US farm, energy and manufactured goods.

The Phase 1 deal was announced last week after more than two years of on-and-off trade talks, although neither side has released many specific details of the agreement.

US officials say China agreed to increase purchases of US products and services by at least $200 billion over the next two years.

Chinese officials have so far not publicly confirmed much of Washington’s version - especially on goods purchase commitments.

But China said on Friday when the deal was announced that it will import more US wheat, rice, corn, energy, pharmaceuticals and financial services.

Both the Chinese and U.S. trade teams are in close contact, Gao Feng, a spokesman at the Chinese commerce ministry, told reporters at a regular briefing on Thursday, adding there is no specific information on the deal to disclose currently.

Earlier on Thursday, China unveiled a new list of tariff exemptions for US imports, mostly chemical products, days after the world's two largest economies announced the Phase 1 deal. China said the second part of the waiver list will be released at an appropriate time.

Meanwhile, Chinese state television quoted Premier Li Keqiang saying that China’s economy could face even bigger downward pressure in 2020 than this year.

The government will take steps to keep economic operations within a reasonable range next year, Li said.