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Trump to announce new site for signing of trade pact with China

USA CHINA | 31 de octubre de 2019

File photo showing US President Donald Trump. EFE-EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS/File

Washington, Oct 31 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump confirmed Thursday that he will announce "soon" a new site where he will meet with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to sign the "first phase" of a trade accord with China, after Chile's surprise cancellation of the APEC summit in Santiago.

The US president had been intending to meet with the Chinese leader at the summit in the Chilean capital in mid-November.

"China and the USA are working on selecting a new site for signing of Phase One of Trade Agreement, about 60% of total deal, after APEC in Chile was canceled do to unrelated circumstances," Trump said on his Twitter account, misspelling the word "due."

"The new location will be announced soon. President Xi and President Trump will do signing!" he added.

Trump had been scheduled to meet with Xi to sign the accord at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum summit, which was to be held in Santiago on Nov. 16-17.

However, Chilean President Sebastian Piñera on Wednesday announced that Chile was cancelling the APEC summit, along with the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference (known as COP25) in December, due to the massive protests and demonstrations that have been staged in the South American country for the past two weeks.

Last week, US negotiators said that they were close to finalizing several sections of the pact, but they did not definitively guarantee that it would be ready to sign by the time of the APEC summit.

Trump described the pact as the "first phase" of a process that could unfold in three phases and shelved his plans to hike tariffs on Chinese goods.

Meanwhile, China promised to increase its purchases of US agricultural products to between $40 billion and $50 billion.

In subsequent tweets on Thursday, Trump lashed out at the US Federal Reserve.

"China is not our problem, the Federal Reserve is!" said Trump on Thursday in his first Twitter commentary on the interest rate cut by the US Federal Reserve on Wednesday.

The president said that "People are VERY disappointed in Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve. The Fed has called it wrong from the beginning, too fast, too slow. They even tightened in the beginning."

Trump went on to say that "Others are running circles around them and laughing all the way to the bank. Dollar & Rates are hurting...our manufacturers. We should have lower interest rates than Germany, Japan and all others. We are now, by far, the biggest and strongest Country, but the Fed puts us at a competitive disadvantage."

The Fed opted Wednesday to cut its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point, bringing it down to a target range of between 1.5 percent and 1.75 percent.

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the Fed's policy-making body, voted 8-2 in favor of the monetary policy action, a move that comes amid widespread concerns about economic deceleration in the US and globally.

The central bank lowered its federal funds rate for the third time in 2019 even though it said the country's labor market remains strong and economic activity continues to rise at a moderate rate.

Growth in US gross domestic product has been slowing throughout the year, with the Commerce Department announcing Wednesday that the economy expanded just 1.9 percent in the third quarter relative to the same three-month period of 2018.

However, Powell said that the Fed would take its time before modifying US monetary policy again.

"We see the current stance of monetary policy as likely to remain appropriate as long as incoming information about the state of the economy remains broadly consistent with our outlook," he told a press conference Wednesday.

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