New year, new trade deal! In a potentially positive turn of events, the construction industry—and the economy as a whole—could see progress concerning the trade war between the United States and China. After reaching a compromise in early December 2019 over some tariffs on Chinese and American goods, President Trump announced last week via a tweet that he plans to sign the first phase of a trade deal with China January 15.
I will be signing our very large and comprehensive Phase One Trade Deal with China on January 15. The ceremony will take place at the White House. High level representatives of China will be present. At a later date I will be going to Beijing where talks will begin on Phase Two!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2019
Negotiations in December resulted in the Trump administration agreeing to cancel a number of new tariffs and gradually lower the rates for some duties. This included an agreement from the Trump adminstration not to impose additional tariffs on some $160 billion of imports. China agreed to increase its use of U.S. agricultural imports. The approximately 86-page pact also includes updates to tariffs on technology and intellectual property.
Trump tweeted about plans to travel to China to hash out details for the second phase of the negotiations. Trump has noted the trade war with China as one of his top areas of focus going into the 2020 campaign year.
The news is welcome to many in the industry, especially following the House of Representatives' bipartisan passage (a 385-41 vote) of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in December. The Senate will likely vote on the USMCA this month.