Global Economy

China is awfully quiet amid reports it has agreed to phase one trade deal with the US in principle


Chinese President Xi Jinping

Fred Dufour | AFP | Getty Images

China has been uncharacteristically quiet ever since news broke that the U.S. had agreed to a phase one trade deal in principle with the Chinese.

Official Chinese state media has yet to comment on the news. Meanwhile, China’s Foreign Ministry has only said that a U.S.-China trade deal must be mutually beneficial.

CNBC’s Eunice Yoon learned through a source that China has concerns regarding hard targets the U.S. is pushing for in terms of agricultural purchases. China has committed to buying $40 billion in agricultural products. President Donald Trump, however, wanted a number closer to $50 billion.

The source told Yoon that China is afraid those purchases could put them in conflict with other trading partners. There is also concern that Trump could eventually reimpose tariffs on Chinese goods despite a phase one deal being signed.

The deal agreed to in principle by the U.S., which Trump has reportedly signed off on, would delay another round of duties set to kick in on Sunday. It would also slash some existing tariffs in half.

‘A delicate situation’

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times who seems to have inside knowledge of the trade war, said the Chinese side “has basically kept silent,” calling it “a delicate situation.”

Hu’s publication is a tabloid under the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China. His Twitter account has been followed by many Wall Street traders and market participants for insight on the trade battle.

Stocks around the world rose globally on Friday amid hopes both sides will move forward with the deal. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures traded more than 100 points higher. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index was up more than 1.5%. Japan’s Nikkei surged 2.6% while the Shanghai Composite jumped 1.8%.

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