White House expected to announce the deal, but quiet in Beijing
The US offered to stop new tariffs and cut existing tariffs by up to 50%
News that an initial trade deal was reached between the US and China was met with silence in Beijing where officials denied to confirm whether an agreement had been reached.
Asked about the status of the trade talks during a daily briefing on Friday, Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry, reiterated that Beijing was committed to resolving remaining problems, but that a deal had to be mutually beneficial. She didn’t comment on whether a deal was reached between the two sides or the terms of any agreement.
The U.S. media reported on Thursday that an “in principle” agreement was reached that the U.S. would roll back some of the Chinese goods tariffs on $360bn in return for Chinese procurement commitments for U.S. agricultural products and other concessions.
News of the deal comes days before the White House is due on 15 December to impose a new tranche of tariffs on $160 billion in consumer goods.
According to news, China agreed to purchase US farm products worth $50 billion while the US offered to cut current Chinese goods tariffs by as much as 50%.
But the muted response from Beijing raised questions as to whether an agreement is reached. Speaking at a Beijing symposium, the negotiations were not mentioned by China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi.
Instead, he took the chance to criticize the US for “seriously damaging the two countries ‘ hard-won mutual trust.”
Wang said the US had “slandered” China by criticising it over its policies in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
“We will never accept the so-called unilateral sanctions and any acts of bullying,” he said.
Hu Xijin, Global Times editor-in-chief, wrote on Twitter: “Chinese authorities and official media so far haven’t given any information on China and the US are close to a deal. As the US side released optimistic information through various channels, the Chinese side has basically kept silent. This is a delicate situation.”


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