- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 9, 2020

President Trump said Thursday the second phase of his trade negotiations with China may wait until after the election, arguing it might result in a “a lot better deal.”

Speaking from the White House, Mr. Trump said the second round of talks may take some time, so he’s playing up the first-phase deal that will be inked in a White House ceremony with top Chinese officials on Wednesday.

China on Thursday confirmed it will dispatch President Xi Jinping’s chief negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He, to Washington from Monday to Wednesday.

The initial-stage deal calls on China to buy $40 billion to $50 billion in U.S. farm products in exchange for Mr. Trump’s decision to waive planned tariffs on consumer goods.

“It’s pretty much all for the farmers, also bankers,” Mr. Trump said. “It’s a big chunk of it.”

The White House says it got real concessions in the first-phase deal on financial services and intellectual property, though experts say there is still plenty of territory to cover. Namely, the second phase would have to tackle the communist government’s tendency to mass-subsidize its domestic industries.

Mr. Trump on Thursday said second-phase talks will begin right after the phase-one signing ceremony. However, he’s frequently floated the idea of waiting until 2021 to figure out the rest, reasoning he will have more leverage over Beijing if he secures reelection.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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