U.S. China Officials Remain Committed to Phase One

Senior U.S. and Chinese officials said after a late-August meeting that they were committed to carrying out the phase-one trade accord between the two nations.

The video conference convened U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He for a review of the deal signed in January. The trade rep’s office released a summary of the talks, which it said included discussions of “significant increases” in China’s purchases of U.S. products.

The primary significance of the talks is that they occurred at all, said trade experts, given the deepening divides between the two nations. While Washington and Beijing fought for two years over trade issues, the phase-one deal represents one of the few strands holding the relationship together.

“The phase-one deal has become this shiny spot in a diminishing relationship,” said Kelly Ann Shaw, a former Trump White House trade official.

China has recently stepped up its buying of U.S. corn, soybeans and other farm products. However, the pace of the purchases, as measured in dollar terms, is falling short of what is needed to meet the targets, partly reflecting declining commodity prices amid the global pandemic.

Source: Wall Street Journal