Monday 16 December 2019 1:00 am

US trade representative: Phase one of deal is 'totally done'

The first phase of a US-China tariff deal is “totally done”, according to US trade representative Robert Lighthizer.

Last night Lighthizer said there would be some routine “scrubs” to the text but “this is totally done, absolutely.”

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Speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation”, he said that a time and place for officials on both sides to formally ink the deal is still to be decided.

On Friday the world’s two largest economies said that they had reached phase one in a trade deal that included some tariff relief and agricultural purchases.

Both the US and China have vowed to make changes related to intellectual property, technology transfers and financial services.

The early stages of the agreement come after two-and-a-half years of a tit-for-tat tariff battle between the two sides, with global markets dented by the uncertainty and economic impact of the trade standoff.

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Lighthizer said: “Ultimately, whether this whole agreement works is going to be determined by who’s making the decisions in China, not in the United States.”

He added: “If the hard-liners are making the decisions we’re going to get one outcome, if the reformers are making the decisions, which is what we hope, then we’re going to get another outcome.”