U.S., China reach soybean deal as tariff deadline looms

by Bamidele Ogunberu Posted on January 31st, 2019

Washington: The United States and China came to an agreement on the sale of soybeans Thursday, as both sides seek to reach a deal before increased tariffs take effect.

Trump announced that China agreed to purchase 5 million tons of U.S. soybeans after holding two days of discussions with a Chinese delegation including Vice Premier Liu He. They planned to set up another meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in the future.

“We’ve made tremendous progress,” Trump said of the negotiations.

The Chinese delegation proposed that Trump meet with Xi in the province of Hainan in February, The Wall Street Journal reported.

During the meeting Thursday a member of the Chinese delegation read a letter from Xi aloud to Trump, in which he said he hoped the two countries can meet “each other halfway in order to reach an early agreement that works in the best interest of both sides … such an agreement will send a positive message to our two people and the broader international community.”

“I hope that our two sides will continue to have mutual respect,” Xi wrote.

Trump described the letter as “beautiful,” although he said the two sides hadn’t discussed a March 1 deadline when a mutually agreed upon pause on tariffs between the two countries would end.

Prior to the meeting Thursday, Trump wrote on Twitter that he would prefer to establish a deal to end the dispute in a face-to-face meeting with Xi.

“No final deal will be made until my friend President Xi, and I, meet in the near future to discuss and agree on some of the long standing and more difficult points,” Trump wrote.

He added that the White House and the Chinese delegation were working to reach an agreement by the March 1 deadline and later said he believed that could be achieved.

“I think we can do it by March 1. Can you get it down on paper by March 1? I don’t know,” Trump said. “This isn’t going to be a small deal with China. This is either going to be a big deal or it’s going to be a deal that we’ll just postpone for a while.”

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Bamidele Ogunberu

Bamidele Ogunberu

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