Markets

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin is 'confident' trade deal will be signed at beginning of January

Key Points
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tells CNBC he has no doubt that U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators will sign their "phase one" trade deal in early January.
  • "It's just going through what I would consider to be a technical, legal scrub," Mnuchin says.
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Sec. Mnuchin: I'm 'very confident' phase one deal will be signed in early January

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday he has no doubt that U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators will sign their "phase one" trade deal in early January.

Asked by CNBC's David Faber how certain he is the trade deal will be signed on schedule, the secretary said he was "very confident."

"It's just going through what I would consider to be a technical, legal scrub, and we'll be releasing the document and signing it in the beginning of January," he said.

China and the U.S. announced on Friday they had reached a phase one deal, including tariff relief, increased agricultural purchases and certain structural changes to intellectual property and technology issues.

Beijing agreed to purchase billions of dollars in U.S. agricultural goods, while President Donald Trump said he would not move ahead with a new round of tariffs. The USTR later added that the U.S. will be maintaining 25% tariffs on approximately $250 billion of Chinese imports and reducing duties on $120 billion in products to 7.5% from 15%.

Wall Street largely applauded news of the truce, nearly two years after Trump launched his global trade war and sent waves of uncertainty through trading desks around the world.

But the administration's top economic and trade officials have since faced a barrage of questions concerning the deal, including how much China will agree to purchase from the U.S. and whether Beijing will ultimately punt on codifying their agreement.

Trade discussions between the globe's two largest economies have been fraught during the last 18 months. While at some points, Trump has characterized China President Xi Jinping as a "friend" and partner, he also ended talks abruptly in May and he said he would hike tariffs on China in light of its attempts to "renegotiate."