Beijing – Nearly 20 trade agreements worth $9 billion were signed on Wednesday in Beijing between Chinese and U. S. companies on the first day of U. S. President Donald Trump’s visit to China.

Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Wang Yang called the agreements “warm-up” ahead of Thursday’s Sino-American summit, where Trump and his counterpart, Xi Jinping, are expected to preside over the signing of contracts in areas such as gas and soybeans.

In this first round, the companies involved – whose names were revealed in Mandarin – included Bell Helicopters, the Smithfield Foods agri-food group (controlled by the Chinese Shuanghui) and a Montana Federation of cattle breeders for a beef delivery agreement.

The amounts and details of the transactions were not disclosed immediately.

The Honeywell industrialist, who is also concerned, stated in a press release that he had reached an agreement with the Chinese airline Spring Airlines for equipment for its future Airbus A320neo fleet, without disclosing any financial commitments.

Smithfield Foods, for its part, announced on 24 October its agreement with JD. com, a Chinese online retailer, to sell its pork products on its platform, again without mentioning the terms of the partnership.

The agreements signed on Wednesday were signed in the presence of U. S. Trade Secretary Wilbur Ross, in the solemn setting of the People’s Palace, which overlooks Tiananmen Square.

“Responding to the trade imbalance with China is at the heart of discussions between President Trump and President Xi,”Ross said.

“Achieving fair and reciprocal treatment for business is a common goal,”he said.

With the issue of North Korea’s nuclear programme, trade relations should be the focus of Donald Trump’s first visit to China, which during his Beijing campaign accused him of “stealing” millions of jobs in the United States.

On board the plane that took Trump to Beijing, a senior official of the US administration spoke of “serious imbalances” in bilateral economic relations,”not just the trade deficit but also unfair rules, such as technology transfers imposed on US companies”.

The U. S. trade deficit with China shows no sign of deflation one year after the election of Donald Trump.

As it landed in Beijing, Chinese customs reported a trade surplus of $223 billion with the United States over the first 10 months of the year, up 8% from the same period in 2016.