President of the US, Donald Trump scrapped a handful of memorandums of understanding (MoUs) that negotiators from the US and China were working on ahead of a looming 1 March trade deal deadline.
Trump announced on his Twitter account yesterday that he would be extending the increase in tariffs scheduled 1 March, though an official date has not been revealed.
On Wednesday last week, Bloomberg reported that a person briefed on the negotiations confirmed there were multiple MoUs in progress covering the areas of agriculture, non-tariff barriers, services, technology transfer and intellectual property.
Two days later on Friday, Trump dismissed the MoUs despite protests from his chief negotiator, Robert Lighthizer.
Reuters reported Trump voiced his dislike of the MoUs in a scheduled meeting with China’s chief negotiator, Liu He, saying “they don’t mean anything.”
Lighthizer rebutted, stating that an MoU is a legally binding contract and is the way trade agreements are generally used. Following this, the two parties have agreed to use the term ‘trade agreement’ moving forward.