Proper U.S.-China trade deal more important than timing: Wilbur Ross

Proper U.S.-China trade deal more important than timing: Wilbur Ross

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, speaks during an interview in New York, U.S., December 3, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) – U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Tuesday said it was more important to get a proper trade agreement with China than to get the deal done by this December or next December – after the 2020 presidential election.

Ross told Reuters in an interview that the world’s two largest economies still needed to work out details about China’s purchases of farm products, some structural issues and an enforcement mechanism to complete an interim trade agreement.

Trump, speaking in Europe, on Tuesday said an interim trade deal with China could slip until after the U.S. presidential election in November 2020, denting hopes for an quick end to a 17-month trade war that is weighing on global growth.

“The point he was trying to make is we need a proper deal, and whether it comes this December, or it’s next December, or some other date is much less important than getting a proper deal,” Ross said.

He said he expected U.S. President Donald Trump to win the 2020 presidential election. But if Trump lost and no deal had been reached with China, the issue would be “somebody else’s problem.”

Reporting by Andrea Shalal, David Shepardson and Alexandra Alper; Editing by Edward Tobin

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