China was uncharacteristically quiet after news broke that the U.S. had agreed to a phase one trade deal in principle with the Chinese. But that changed Friday morning when Chinese officials started a press conference regarding the trade talks.
Around 9 a.m. ET, President Donald Trump denied a report saying he has signed off on the “phase one” deal, pushing stocks down.
The briefing is being hosted by the State Council Information Office. Chinese officials attending include Zheng Zeguang, vice minister of foreign affairs, Han Jun, vice minister of agriculture and rural affairs and Wang Shouwen, vice minister of commerce and deputy international trade representative.
A notice to reporters had said China would discuss “issues on relevant progress of China-U.S. economic and trade consultation.”
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday the U.S. has reached a deal in principle, which would delay another round of duties set to kick in on Sunday and slash some existing tariffs in half. Trump said in a tweet the report is “completely wrong.”
Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the state-run tabloid Global Times, said the trade talks “have moved a step forward, but how to define this step, and what real significance does it have, the answers lie in joint efforts of China and the U.S.”
In an earlier Tweet, Hu said it’s “a delicate situation.”
CNBC’s Eunice Yoon learned through a source that China has concerns regarding hard targets the U.S. is pushing for in terms of agricultural purchases. China has committed to buying $40 billion in agricultural products. President Donald Trump, however, wanted a number closer to $50 billion.
The source told Yoon that China is afraid those purchases could put them in conflict with other trading partners. There is also concern that Trump could eventually reimpose tariffs on Chinese goods despite a phase one deal being signed.
In a regular press briefing Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the Chinese “always insist consultations must be based on the principles of equality and mutual respect, and agreements must be mutually beneficial and win-win.” She didn’t elaborate on the limited deal.
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