The US-China trade talks have hit a disadvantage over farm purchases as officials seek to lock down the limited trade agreement President Trump outlined last month.
Trump has said that China has agreed to buy up to $ 50 billion annually of soybeans, pork and other US agricultural products. But China is leery of adding a numerical obligation to the text of an agreement, according to people familiar with the matter.
Beijing wants to avoid cutting a deal that looks more favorable to the United States than to China, some of the people said, and also wants flexibility within the deal if tensions in trade escalate again. "We can always stop buying if things get worse again," said a Chinese official.
The dispute over farm purchases is one of several issues that have delayed the completion of the limited trade agreement announced by Trump and Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Liu He on October 1
Chinese officials have also resisted US demands for a strong enforcement mechanism for the deal and hampers the forced transfer of technology for companies looking to do business in China – all of paramount importance to international business – according to people familiar with the talks.
An extended version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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