Trump Says U.S., China Reached Substantial Phase-1 Trade Deal

The partial accord represents the biggest step toward resolution of a 15-month tariff war between the world’s two largest economies that has hit financial markets and slowed global growth

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with China's Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office at the White House, October 11, 2019.
YURI GRIPAS/Reuters

President Donald Trump said on Friday the United States and China had come to a substantial phase-1 trade deal, reaching agreement on intellectual property, financial services and big agricultural purchases.

The two sides are very close to ending their trade war and it will take up to five weeks to get the deal written, Trump said, speaking to reporters after talks with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

“There was a lot of friction between the United States and China, and now it’s a lovefest. That’s a good thing,” the U.S. president said.

The partial accord represented the biggest step toward resolution of a 15-month tariff war between the world’s two largest economies that has hit financial markets and slowed global growth.

Trump spoke after two days of high-level negotiations in Washington between U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and a delegation led by Liu on the Chinese side.

Mnuchin said that Trump had agreed not to proceed with a hike in tariffs to 30% from 25% on about $250 billion in Chinese goods that was supposed to have gone into effect on Tuesday.

But Lighthizer said Trump had not made a decision about tariffs that were subject to go into effect in December.

When asked about those tariffs, Trump said: “I think that we’re going to have a deal that’s a great deal that’s beyond tariffs.”

Trump had previously insisted he would not be satisfied with a partial deal to resolve his two-year effort to change China’s trade, intellectual property and industrial policy practices, which he argues cost millions of U.S. jobs.

U.S. stocks ended more than 1% higher on Friday but well off the day's highs after the announcement, with the S&P 500 .SPX up 1.09% after rising as much as 1.7% earlier on hopes of a deal.

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are both scheduled to attend a November 16 summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation countries in Santiago, Chile.

Both sides have imposed duties on hundreds of billions of dollars of goods during their dispute, but there have been positive signs in recent days.

China’s securities regulator on Friday unveiled a firm timetable for scrapping foreign ownership limits in futures, securities and mutual fund companies for the first time. Increasing foreign access to the sector is among the U.S. demands at the trade talks.

Beijing previously said it would further open up its financial sector on its own terms and at its own pace.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed net sales of 142,172 tons of U.S. pork to China in the week ended October 3, the largest weekly sale to the world’s top pork market on record.