China, US Close to “Phased 1” Trade Deal

On Monday, China and the United States are “very close” to the conclusion of the “Phase 1” trade agreement, refuting “negative” media reports.

Citing experts close to the Chinese government, the state-backed Global Times said on its Twitter account that Beijing was also committed to continuing talks on “Phase 2” or even “Phase 3” of an agreement with the United States.

Last week, trade experts and people close to the White House said the completion of the “Phase One” deal, which was expected in November, could be delayed until the new year, as Beijing presses for more broad-based tariffs. Washington has responded to demands.

According to officials from Washington and Beijing, as well as lawmakers and trade experts, the ambitious “Phase Two” trade agreement seems less likely.

Expectations for a one-stage deal were more complicated last week when the US Congress approved legislation to support Hong Kong protesters, although the completion of local council elections in the China-controlled region on Sunday without major unrest could provide support.

US national security adviser Robert O’Brien said on Saturday it was still possible to reach a preliminary trade deal with China by the end of the year. He warned that Washington would not turn a blind eye to what was happening in Hong Kong, but also said it would be a “good indicator” if the election were held without violence.