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US, China reach phase one trade deal

NEW YORK, Dec 13: China and the US have agreed on the text of a phase one trade deal, which will see the removal of tariffs on Chinese goods in stages, Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said, as US President Donald Trump announced some reduction in tariffs.

China will increase imports from the US and other countries, Wang said at a briefing in Beijing Friday. The comments are China’s first response to a deal signed off by Trump on Thursday that would halt higher tariffs planned for December 15 and represent the first phase in defusing the trade war that’s shaken the global economy.

Trump said that existing tariffs of 25 percent on $250 billion of Chinese imports will stay in place pending further negotiations on a second phase deal, along with 7.5 percent tariffs on another $120 billion of imports.

Trump tweeted, “we have agreed to a very large Phase One Deal with China. They have agreed to many structural changes and massive purchases of Agricultural Product, Energy, and Manufactured Goods, plus much more. The 25% Tariffs will remain as is, with 7 1/2% put on much of the remainder..."

“The Penalty Tariffs set for December 15th will not be charged because of the fact that we made the deal. We will begin negotiations on the Phase Two Deal immediately, rather than waiting until after the 2020 Election. This is an amazing deal for all. Thank you!," according to his Twitter post.

For its part, Beijing would buy more US farm products, increase Americans companies' access to the Chinese market and tighten protection for intellectual property rights.

U.S. stocks rallied, with the S&P 500 Index jumping to a record, amid signs the tensions are easing between the world’s two largest economies. Washington and Beijing have been in trade war for about 18 months involving nearly $500 billion in products shipped between the two nations.

The text, which comprises nine chapters, includes sections on intellectual property, forced technology transfer, food and agricultural products, finance, currency and transparency, boosting trade, bilateral assessment and dispute resolution, according to the officials.

Both sides agreed to finish the final stages such as legal review and translation as soon as possible and work on arrangements for the final signing, said Wang.

First announced by Trump on Oct. 11, the interim deal with China offers a short-term political victory for the president and will allow him to claim that his tariffs have paid dividends, at the risk of being accused of postponing tougher issues like China’s industrial subsidies.

For Beijing, reducing even some of the tariffs that have been imposed since last year represents a win for President Xi Jinping, who is also facing pressure to not give in to the other side.

Trump impeachment proceedings to go ahead: Speaker

WASHINGTON, Dec 5: U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said she has instructed the House Judiciary Committee to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump over his effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival.

“The facts are uncontested. The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security by withholding military aid and (a) crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival,” Pelosi said in a televised statement.

“Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our Founders and our hearts full of love for America, today I am asking our chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment,” she added, referring to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler

Pelosi made the remarks a day after the Judiciary Committee held a hearing in which three constitutional law experts called by Democratic lawmakers said Trump had engaged in conduct that represents impeachable offenses under the Constitution. A fourth expert called by Republican lawmakers called the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry rushed and flawed.

The House Intelligence Committee this week submitted findings from its inquiry into Trump’s push for Kiev to launch an investigation related to former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, a top contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Trump also wanted Ukraine to look into the discredited theory that Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in the 2016 U.S. election.

Democrats have accused Trump of abusing his power by withholding $391 million in security aid to Ukraine - a U.S. ally facing Russian aggression - to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to announce the investigation.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and called the impeachment investigation a hoax.

Kamala Harris drops out of 2020 US presidential race

NEW YORK, Dec 3: Sen. Kamala Harris of California dropped out of the Democratic presidential race Tuesday after months of slumping poll numbers, a dramatic comedown after her campaign began with significant promise.

The decision to drop out of the race comes after upheaval among staff and disarray among Harris’ own allies. She told supporters in an email Tuesday that she lacked the money needed to fully finance a competitive campaign.

“My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue,” Harris wrote in the email.

The announcement is both dramatic and unexpected, perhaps the most sudden development to date in a Democratic presidential campaign where Harris began in the top tier.

She began her campaign on Martin Luther King Jr. Day with comparisons to historic black politicians such as Barack Obama and Shirley Chisholm. Her speech that day in Oakland, California, had more than 20,000 people in attendance, giving credence to the idea that she could become the first woman of color elected president.

Harris had struggled financially in recent months as her online fundraising slowed and her large donors increasingly turned away from her campaign. In the third quarter of the year, she spent more than $1.41 for every dollar she raised, burning through millions of her treasury.

She stopped buying advertisements, both online and on television; slashed staff in New Hampshire; and retrenched to Iowa, where she spent the Thanksgiving holiday with her family.

But it was not enough, as the determination was made that she did not have enough financial resources to compete, even as a supportive super PAC began reserving ads Tuesday, the day she told people she was dropping out.

Trump says China trade deal might have to wait for 2020 election

LONDON, Dec 3: US President Donald Trump said a trade agreement with China might have to wait until after the US presidential election in November 2020, denting hopes of a quick resolution to the dispute which has weighed on the world economy.

"I have no deadline, no. In some ways I think it's better to wait until after the election with China," Trump told reporters in London where he was due to attend a meeting of NATO leaders.

"But they want to make a deal now, and we'll see whether or not the deal's going to be right, it's got to be right."

European share prices and the Chinese yuan currency fell on Trump's comments.

Investors have been hoping that the United States and China can avert an escalation of their trade tensions which have slowed global economic growth.

Washington and Beijing have yet to ink a so-called "phase one" agreement announced in October, which had raised hopes of a de-escalation in their prolonged trade war.

Trump said a deal with China would only happen if he wanted it to, and he thought he was doing very well in the talks.

"I'm doing very well on a deal with China, if I want to make it," he said. "I don't think it's up to if they want to make it, it's if I want to make it. We'll see what happens."

"I'm doing very well, if I want to make a deal, I don't know that I want to make it, they're going to find out pretty soon."

 

 

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