A delegation of senior Chinese government officials is scheduled to arrive in Washington this coming week to sign a phase-one trade deal aimed at relaxing trade tensions between China and the U.S.
Vice Premier Liu He will lead the delegation, which includes China’s commerce minister and the governor of China’s central bank. The signing ceremony for the agreement is currently scheduled for Wednesday morning.
China and the U.S. have been locked in a trade war, with both sides imposing tariffs on imports from the other. Chinese tariffs on agricultural imports have had a severe impact on American farmers, who have received around $30 billion in compensation from the federal government.
China will “improve its tariff policy on wheat, corn and other farm products based on the rules of the World Trade Organization,” said Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng at a briefing to reporters. Gao did not provide details on whether China planned to increase imports from the U.S.
The two countries had agreed in December on the outline of a deal to reduce trade tensions, but Gao’s announcement on Thursday was the first concrete indication that China was ready to act upon the agreement. According to the Wall Street Journal, the two sides have been negotiating over the Chinese translation of the deal in the past several weeks.
The news comes after American manufacturing levels sank to the lowest level seen since the Great Recession of 2009. The decline was partially a result of the ongoing standoff between the U.S. and China, which has adversely affected global trade.
“Global trade remains the most significant cross-industry issue, but there are signs that several industry sectors will improve as a result of the phase-one trade agreement between the U.S. and China,” said Timothy Fiore, chairman of the Institute for Supply Management, in the organization’s announcement last week regarding decreased manufacturing levels.