An influential state-controlled newspaper said Monday that China should not rush to sign a much-touted Phase One trade deal with the Trump administration, hinting that some key details in the agreement have yet to be nailed down.
Mr. Trump has heralded the deal as a major breakthrough, saying it will bring major new Chinese purchases of U.S. farm and manufactured exports, and set the stage for a more ambitious second phase targeting what U.S. officials say are deep-seated unfair Chinese trade and investment practices.
But while Mr. Trump has said a “high-level” Chinese delegation will be traveling to Washington Jan. 15 to sign the accord, Beijing has been notably silent about the details or the timing of a signing ceremony.
In an editorial Monday, the Beijing-based Global Times — typically a reliable indicator of official policy — said key details of the agreement are still up in the air and that a signing delay may be in order.
Despite its importance to China’s economy, “a speedy signing is not of the essence, but the actual content of the deal and its implementation are,” the news outlet wrote in an unsigned editorial.
“Given the potential significance of the Phase One deal for ending the costly trade tussle and even for the future of the world’s most consequential bilateral relationship, it is imperative for both sides to get the deal done rights, rather than in a rush,” the editorial said, noting that many of the details made public by Mr. Trump have yet to be confirmed by the Chinese government.
“From discrepancies in official statements on both sides, it is apparent that there are still some final details to be worked out.”
The South China Morning Post, citing unnamed sources, has reported that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He has “tentatively” scheduled a trip to Washington next week to ink the trade deal.