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US and Chinese companies sign contracts during Trump visit

US and Chinese companies sign contracts during Trump visitUS and Chinese companies have signed business deals the two sides say are valued at nine billion US dollars (£6.8 billion) during a visit by American leader Donald Trump, in a move aimed at blunting criticism of Beijing’s trade practices.

No details have been released over the 19 agreements signed on Wednesday at a ceremony attended by US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross.

Such contract signings are a fixture of visits by foreign leaders to Beijing and often involve agreements the Chinese side saved for the event to showcase the country’s importance as a market.

Mr Trump has made narrowing the multibillion-dollar US trade deficit with China a priority for his administration. He is due to hold talks with Chinese president Xi Jinping later.

Meanwhile, motor giant Ford has announced it is launching a venture with a Chinese partner to develop electric vehicles for sale in China, the biggest market for the technology.

The announcement of the 750 million US dollar (£570 million) venture with Anhui Zotye Automobile Co adds to rising investment by global car makers in China’s growing electric vehicle industry.

Zotye already has its own electric vehicle business and said sales in the first 10 months of this year were up 14% over a year earlier at 22,500.

Ford said previously it planned to offer electric versions of 70 percent of its models sold in China by 2025.

Mercedes Benz makes electric cars with a Chinese partner, and other global brands including General Motors and Volkswagen AG have announced or are exploring similar ventures.

PA

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