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China Experts Discuss Phase One Trade Deal Ahead Of Signing Ceremony

The U.S.

Benzinga · 01/13/2020 20:38

The U.S. and Chinese officials are scheduled to sign a Phase One trade deal Wednesday, but many important items remain unresolved, Fred Hochberg, former chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, said Monday on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

Hochberg: Better Than A Trade War

The Phase One trade deal is important because it is "better than being at constant war," Hochberg said. While the two countries were able to come to some sort of trade agreement, a lot of topics concerning farmers and workers were not included, he said. 

The trade deal amounts to a "purchase agreement," and it is difficult to predict when a "Phase Two" deal will come into the picture, Hochberg said.

Some of the topics that need to be included in the follow-up trade deal relate to intellectual property, technology transfer and a more level playing field, he said. 

The problem:  China has shown no interest in any of these topics, Hochberg said.

Miller: Trade Truce

Leland Miller, CEO of China Beige Book International, said President Donald Trump wants to give the impression that the Phase One deal is "very meaningful."

The administration will employ theatrics to "make a big deal" about the agreement, but at its core it is merely a trade truce, he said. 

China is also incentivized by putting an end to the "nightmare scenario" of having most or all of its exports to the U.S. subject to tariffs, Miller said. The country could either accept lower economic growth in 2020 or move forward with restructuring plans, he said. 

"We don't know yet, they will probably go in both directions as they zig-zag and try to deal with the repercussions of whatever they push forward," the CEO said. "But the most important thing is that they had a major headwind taken off the table and this allows them to focus domestically in 2020."

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