Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He will travel to Washington next week to rubber-stamp a ‘phase one’ accord, to start further cooperation efforts.

Vice-Premier Liu He is off to Washington next week to sign the phase one trade deal hammered out by China and the United States in November.

President Xi Jinping’s confidant and top negotiator will travel to the American capital on Monday for the three-day trip, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce confirmed on Thursday.

At the invitation of the USA, Liu He will be leading a delegation to Washington from January 13 to January 15 to sign the phase one deal.

The signing ceremony of the mini deal, includes four key areas of concern. While details are sparse, they will take in intellectual property rights, currency manipulation, financial services and increased agricultural and seafood imports from the US worth a reported US$50 billion.

In exchange, the US regime agreed to freeze planned tariffs worth $160 billion on Chinese imports, which were due to kick-in on December 15. Duties imposed in September on goods valued at up to $120 billion will be halved to 7.5%.

The reductions will take effect 30 days after the agreement is finalized. But tariffs imposed earlier on Chinese imports to the US worth $250 billion will remain at 25%.

With only limited concessions, China has been able to preserve its mercantilist economic system and continue its discriminatory industrial policies at the expense of China’s trading partners and the global economy.

US President Donald Trump launched the trade war nearly two years ago. Initially, it was aimed at reducing the massive deficit with Beijing, which stood at $419 billion in 2018. During the first nine months of 2019, the figure climbed to $500 billion.

But as the conflict dragged on, the White House extended the parameters to include China’s state-backed economic model, which has increased under Xi.

Nothing gained but lukewarm purchases after 18 months of a costly trade war,” James M Zimmerman, the former chair of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, said last month. “The very fact that this is ‘phase one’ is a reflection of utter defeat.

Asia Times / ABC Flash Point News 2020.

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