US-China trade deal in near after progress in high-level talks

02/11/2019

The Chinese Commerce Ministry, both sides had reached “consensus on principles” during a “serious and constructive” telephone call between their main trade negotiators.

A deal is close to be signed. According to media, US and China on Friday made progress in talks aimed at defusing a nearly 16-month-long trade war that has harmed the global economy. Moreover, US officials said a deal could be signed this month. The Chinese Commerce Ministry on Friday said the world’s two largest economies had reached “consensus on principles” during a “serious and constructive” telephone call between their main trade negotiators.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin moved forward on a range of issues during their call with China’s Vice Premier Liu He, and were working to resolve outstanding issues, USTR said in a statement. “China wants to make the deal very much,” Trump said reporters at the White House on Friday evening. “I don’t like to talk about deals until they happen, but we’re making a lot of progress.”

Both sides negotiators have been racing to finalize a text of a ‘phase one’ agreement for Trump and Xi to sign this month, a process clouded by wrangling over US demands for a timetable of Chinese purchases of American farm products, reported Reuters.

A critical date is Dec. 15, when new US tariffs on Chinese imports such as laptops, toys and electronics are set to kick in. Both have interest reaching a deal and averting those tariffs.

President Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters on Friday that US and Chinese negotiators had made “enormous progress” toward finalizing the phase one agreement. Although the deal is not yet complete, the talks are set to continue at the deputy level. “The deal is not completed, but we made enormous progress.

We’re beyond where we were last spring, so I’m going to play that from the optimistic side,” Kudlow told reporters. US officials have said the two sides were close to an agreement in May, but talks faltered when China backtracked on commitments to change its laws to resolve core U.S. complaints about theft of intellectual property, forced technology transfers and other practices.

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