Washington Update

March 13th, 2020
By Chynna Hawes

Suspending tariffs may be gaining support due to COVID-19

While some in the administration remain opposed to any tariff cuts, US-China Business Council sources indicate others, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner, are floating the idea of temporarily removing or rolling back a portion of tariffs as one way to support the economy as the United States assesses the economic toll of COVID-19. A growing number of lawmakers are also...

March 6th, 2020
By Chynna Hawes

Export controls conversation moving forward despite Commerce personnel shake-up

The tightening of the direct product and de minimis rules, targeting Huawei, remain on the table despite a key personnel change at the Department of Commerce. On Monday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that Earl Comstock, director of policy and strategic planning, would be stepping down today. It is unclear exactly what prompted the announcement, or who will replace Comstock, but the decision has...

February 28th, 2020
By Chynna Hawes

China begins fulfilling Phase One agriculture commitments

This week saw the beginning of concrete steps by China to implement elements of the Phase One agreement, notably the agricultural commitments, which were among the most substantial. On Tuesday, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer and US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue outlined several actions China has taken to remove or reduce agriculture-related barriers included in Phase One commitments....

February 21st, 2020
By Chynna Hawes

Phase One implementation begins

US officials continued to affirm this week that no request from China to delay implementation of the Phase One trade deal had been received, and that it was on track despite concerns about COVID-19. In a move that could pave the way for the increased purchases outlined in the expanding trade chapter of the deal, including agricultural products, China announced a new list of products that will be eligible for tariff exclusions. Yesterday, the United...

February 14th, 2020
By Chynna Hawes
Phase One now in effect

Today, the Phase One trade agreement officially goes into effect. While both the US and Chinese governments have repeatedly expressed confidence in China’s commitment to fulfilling the agreement, how China will complete the $200 billion worth of purchases of US products remains a question. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak which China continues to grapple with also raises fresh questions. The Chinese government this week conceded that the virus may cause some...

February 7th, 2020
By Chynna Hawes
Phase One implementation

Coronavirus, so far, not expected to impact purchase commitments

Yesterday, President Trump spoke with China’s President Xi Jinping about the novel coronavirus and “agreed to continue extensive communication and cooperation between both sides,” according to the White House readout. Though the leaders also reportedly affirmed their commitment to implement the recent Phase One trade agreement, the impact of the virus on China’s economy has raised concerns about...

January 31st, 2020
By Chynna Hawes
Phase One implementation still unclear

Several questions remain about the implementation of the Phase One trade agreement due to come into force on February 14. With little information from US or Chinese officials as to whether tariffs on various goods will be rolled back, there are doubts over the prospects of purchase commitments being met, and questions about the timeframe. Prospects for “phase two” negotiations are also unclear. In conversations with the US-China Business Council,...

January 24th, 2020
By Chynna Hawes

Phase One still sinking in

This week, President Trump touted the administration’s recently concluded trade deals, the Phase One trade agreement with China and the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He also signaled US readiness to renew talks on reforming the World Trade Organization (WTO), which no longer has a functioning dispute settlement mechanism largely due to actions of the United States. Despite support for...

January 10th, 2020
By Chynna Hawes

Chinese delegation confirmed to be in DC next week for “phase one” deal signing

The Chinese government has confirmed that Vice Premier Liu He and a vice-ministerial delegation of Chinese officials will travel to Washington next week from January 13 to 15 to sign the “phase one” trade deal with the United States. The delegation will arrive on Monday, January 13, meet with academics and think tanks on Tuesday, and participate in what is expected to be a large signing ceremony at the...

January 3rd, 2020
By Chynna Hawes

“Phase one” deal around the corner

The United States and China are expected to finalize a preliminary “phase one” trade deal this month. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump said he plans to sign a “large and comprehensive phase one trade deal with China on January 15” at the White House. High-level Chinese representatives will also attend, according to Trump, and will likely include China’s Vice Premier and chief trade negotiator Liu He. It is unknown who on the China side will sign...