US, China sign initial 'phase one' trade deal

The U.S. and China signed a "phase one" trade deal on Jan. 15 that marks a major milestone in the more than two-year trade war between the world's top two economies.

The agreement was signed by U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He during a White House ceremony attended by droves of government officials and business leaders.

Trump called the initial pact a "momentous step, one that has never been taken before with China" during marathon remarks in the East Room.

"For decades American workers, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and innovators have been hurt by the unfair trade with China," Trump said, noting in particular what his administration has said is Beijing's policy of forcing American firms to transfer technological know-how and trade secrets in order to conduct business in China.

"Now our efforts have yielded a transformative deal that will bring tremendous benefits to both countries," he added.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a letter read aloud by Liu that conclusion of the initial agreement "is good for China, the U.S. and the whole world."

"It also shows that our two countries have the ability to act on the basis of equality, and mutual respect, and work through dialogue and consultation to properly handle and effectively resolve relevant issues," Xi, who did not attend the ceremony in person, said, noting that the focus for Washington and Beijing now shifts to implementation.

The U.S.-China trade war has rattled global markets on fears it could spark a global slowdown.

At issue for Washington is a lopsided trade imbalance with China -- the U.S. had a $378.6 billion trade deficit with China in 2018, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative -- as well as...

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