U.S. And China Disagree On Status Of Trade Deal

U.S. President Donald Trump is touting a new trade deal with China, but Chinese government officials are saying they need more time for analysis before signing such a deal.

Specifically, Chinese officials want to hold more talks with their American counterparts to hammer out the details of the so called "phase one" trade deal touted by Trump before President Xi Jinping agrees to sign it.

Beijing may send a delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He, China’s top negotiator, to finalize a written deal that could be signed by the presidents at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit next month in Chile. China reportedly wants Trump to scrap a planned tariff hike in December in addition to the hike scheduled for this week, U.S. something the administration hasn’t yet endorsed.

The U.S. and China have emerged from last week’s talks with different takes on what’s in the accord and how close they are to signing a document. Trump tweeted "We’ve come to a deal, pretty much, subject to getting it written" and indicated it might take several more weeks of negotiation. China’s Ministry of Commerce said that "the two sides have made substantial progress" and "agreed to work together in the direction of a final agreement."

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC News that he expects officials to work in coming weeks to get the first stage ready for both sides to sign. If that doesn’t happen, the new U.S. import taxes on Chinese products will be imposed starting December 15.

China has become increasingly wary of any statements from Trump. Trust between the two sides suffered a big blow in May 2018, when Trump put a stop to a deal for China to buy more energy and agricultural goods to narrow the trade deficit. The U.S. president further sowed distrust in August when he claimed that Chinese officials had called and requested to restart trade talks.

For China, it’s seen as politically unfeasible for them to accept a final deal that doesn’t remove the punitive tariffs altogether. Nationalists in the Communist Party have pressured President Xi to avoid signing an "unequal treaty" reminiscent of those China signed with colonial powers in the past.