WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce welcomed news today of a Phase I trade agreement between the U.S. and China but urged the two sides to reach a comprehensive agreement in six months.
“The two governments reaching an agreement on a Phase I deal is a very positive development,” said Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant. “With substantial tariff increases set to kick in just days before the holidays, relief from those tariffs and the higher costs they impose on consumer goods and services is a welcome gift for American businesses and consumers. The reduction of tariffs imposed in September is also a good step. This agreement creates greater certainty for American businesses, after months of uncertainty, as they plan for the year ahead.”
China’s reported commitments to expand market access for agriculture and other sectors, strengthen IP protection and enforcement and begin the process of addressing forced technology transfer concerns should be commended.
“When fully implemented in both letter and spirit, China’s commitments have the potential to create a better environment for U.S. businesses exporting to and investing in China, and begin the process of rebalancing the U.S.-China economic relationship,” Brilliant said. “Both sides deserve credit for taking actions to reduce and eliminate tariffs. We’ve long known that tariffs are paid by American companies and American consumers, driving up prices and drowning out the benefits of tax reform for families and businesses. Today’s news creates clarity for businesses and a provides a lift for American consumers during the holiday season.”
Today’s announcement lays the foundation for a Phase II deal. Phase II of the negotiations should address consequential and challenging structural issues that impact American businesses ability to compete on the global economic stage. Those issues include China’s massive subsidies, digital and data discrimination, and a range of outstanding forced technology transfer concerns.
“We urge the administration to keep its eyes on the prize,” Brilliant added. “We call upon both governments to continue working diligently toward a final agreement within six months.”