US, Chinese companies sign contracts during Trump visit

Donald Trump, Melania Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, to travel to Beijing. Trump is on a five-country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

BEIJING (AP) — U.S. and Chinese companies have signed business deals the two sides say are valued at $9 billion during a visit by President Donald Trump, in a tradition aimed at blunting criticism of Beijing’s trade practices.

No details of the 19 agreements signed Wednesday at a ceremony attended by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross were immediately released. 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.

Trump has made narrowing the multibillion-dollar U.S. trade deficit with China a priority of his administration. He is due to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping.