Chinese state media warned the U.S. over the weekend to “avoid backpedaling” on the partial trade agreement, and expressed caution about the initial phase of the deal which President Donald Trump called “very substantial.”
On Friday, the Trump administration announced it was suspending a tariff increase to 30% from 25% on at least $250 billion in Chinese goods which were set to take effect on Tuesday. However, a tariff hike implemented in September was not rolled back and plans for another hike just before the the Christmas holiday on Dec. 15 remain in place.
“While the negotiations do appear to have produced a fundamental understanding on the key issues and the broader benefits of friendly relations, the Champagne should probably be kept on ice, at least until the two presidents put pen to paper,” said China Daily on Sunday.
In an opinion piece entitled “Let’s nail down ‘phase one’ before moving to the next,” the official Chinese state-owned English newspaper pointed fingers at the Trump administration’s unpredictability when it comes to foreign policy.
“As based on its past practice, there is always the possibility that Washington may decide to cancel the deal if it thinks that doing so will better serve its interests,” China Daily said.
“The US should avoid backpedaling, as it has in the past, and instead cherish what has been achieved as a manifestation of a healthy and steady China-US relationship that serves the interests of both countries and the world,” it said.
Separately, People’s Daily — owned by the Chinese Communist Party — reiterated in an editorial on Saturday: “There are no winners in a trade war, and both parties must not fall into a lose-lose trap.”
The U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies, have been embroiled in a protracted trade war for more than a year, casting a shadow over global growth.
Citing the global economic slowdown, People’s Daily added, “the world needs China and the US to cooperate with each other to inject positive energy into the world economy and usher in opportunities for a brighter future.”
U.S. President Donald Trump said the first phase of the trade deal will be drafted over the next three weeks. As part of phase one, China will purchase between $40 billion and $50 billion in U.S. agricultural products.
“Phase two will start almost immediately” after the first phase is signed, Trump said in the Oval Office alongside Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.