US President Donald Trump on Monday said progress in developing the text of a partial trade pact with China means he will likely be able to sign it next month.
Trump remains upbeat on the chances Beijing and Washington will seal the mini-deal he announced earlier this month — marking a cooling-off period in the two nations’ damaging trade war.
“We’ll be able to, we think, sign a completed document with China on phase one,” Trump said at the White House.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said efforts to commit the agreement to paper before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile next month are “on track” though some work remains to be done.
“Our target is to have the phase one deal by the time you go to Chile,” Lighthizer told Trump.
Trump has said he expects to sign the partial deal on the sidelines of the summit when he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
While details are scant, the new mini-deal includes a surge in Chinese purchases of American farm exports and also covers intellectual property, financial services and currency exchange, according to the White House.
Trump said Monday the Chinese “have started the buying.”
China sounded a positive note at a defense forum being held in Beijing, with the vice minister of foreign affairs saying they wanted “China-US relations based on coordination, cooperation and stability.”
With hundreds of billions of dollars in two-way trade now subject to additional tariffs, there are mounting signs the trade war — now in its second year — has damaged the world economy, adding to pressure on both sides to strike a deal.
“We don’t approve the tactic of brandishing the baton of tariffs at every turn and exerting maximum pressure on China,” said China’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Yucheng.
“This practice is old thinking and will not work.”
However, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said earlier Monday that the US side is not rushing to sign on the dotted line next month.
“We would like to make a deal,” Ross told Fox Business on Monday.
“But from our point of view, it has to be the right deal and it doesn’t have to be in November.”
While the White House has said the “phase one” deal touches on major issues, Ross said the heaviest lifting remained to be done.
“The real question is, do we get to an early signing of phase one?” said Ross, who is not a member of the US delegation to the trade talks.
“Second, how far do we get toward phase two or two and three? Two and three are really where the meat is.”
Ex-cops indicted in fatal shooting of Black woman and ‘public torture’ of Black man in separate incidents
Two former Mississippi police officers were indicted in the brutal beating of a Black motorist, and one of them was also charged in an unrelated fatal shooting.
Wade Robertson, 28, and Bryce Gilbert, 27, were charged with aggravated assault in the 2018 beating of James Barnett, and Robertson was also charged with manslaughter in the 2019 shooting death of Dominique Henry, reported The Laurel Leader-Call.
Quarantine, racial strife, Trump have Michelle Obama feeling down
Former First Lady Michelle Obama said she is suffering from "low-grade depression" from coronavirus quarantine, racial strife in the United States and the "hypocrisy" of the Trump administration.
Obama made the remarks in the latest episode of "The Michelle Obama Podcast" released on Spotify on Wednesday.
"I'm waking up in the middle of the night because I'm worrying about something or there's a heaviness," the 56-year-old former First Lady said.
"I try to make sure I get a workout in, although there have been periods throughout this quarantine, where I just have felt too low," she said.
Another watchdog at US State Department abruptly gone
The internal watchdog looking into accusations against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo abruptly quit Wednesday, just months after his predecessor was fired.
The State Department's acting inspector general, Stephen Akard, is a longtime aide to Vice President Mike Pence and his installation in May had widely been seen as a way to keep a friendly figure in the role.
Akard informed colleagues that he is "returning to the private sector after years of public service," a State Department spokesperson said.
"We appreciate his dedication to the Department and to our country."
But Akard's departure comes just as his office finalizes a report on Pompeo's controversial decision to bypass Congress to sell $8.1 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies.