United States reaches 'deal in principle' with China on trade


In a press conference Friday night in Beijing, Chinese officials said the two countries have achieved major progress in their phase one trade negotiations, and agreed on the text of a deal, but offered no specific details on the amount of US goods Beijing had agreed to buy.

The Phase One agreement would call for the U.S.to reduce rates by as much as half on tariffs already in place on Chinese imports and to forgo tariffs scheduled to take effect on $160 billion worth of consumer products, such as smartphones, on Sunday, according to published reports.

Oil prices gained more than 1 percent on December 12 and Brent crude opened higher on December 13 after the USA and China signed off on a phase-one trade deal. President Trump has previously mentioned, however, that China would purchase up to $50 billion in agricultural goods.

In addition to existing tariffs, Trump had threatened to impose a 15% levy Sunday on around US$160 billion of Chinese exports, including popular USA consumer goods like electronics and clothing.

"Both sides have reached consensus that the United States side will fulfil its commitment to remove tariffs on Chinese products through various phases, to reach the transition from raising tariffs to reducing tariffs [on Chinese goods]", he said.

USTR notes United States agreed to modify tariffs in a significant way.

Value of tariffs placed on US goods, showing those imported into China have been hardest.

The paper reported that plans for an official announcement had not been nailed down, adding that the administration does not intend to seek congressional approval.

China angry as Trump backs Hong Kong bills
While Trump faced down Democrats in Washington, he also clashed with Chinese officials over what the administration called unfair trade practices.

Wall Street fell in volatile trading on Friday, as investors remained confused about signs of progress on a US-China trade deal despite comments from both sides that they had arrived at an initial agreement.

The two countries announced a preliminary trade agreement in October, which was expected to include increased Chinese purchases of US agricultural products and possible tariff reductions.

The Dec. 15 tariffs would have also included a 10% duty on toys imported from China, a change that would have especially penalized Hasbro, which produces almost 70% of its goods in the country.

Neither Washington nor Beijing had made official statements, however, raising questions about whether the terms had been agreed by both sides. "That shows the deal is beneficial to the interests of china and the USA and their people, and it is what the worldwide community wants", she said.

China has agreed to aim to purchase $50 billion in farm products a year, Robert Lighthizer, the United States Trade Representative, told reporters at the White House on Friday.

He has repeatedly said the negotiations are going well, even as trade officials struggled to reach a deal.

Critics say striking a deal now negates the previous year and a half of pressure on China to reform practices that give its businesses an unfair advantage. He added: "It may be that the Chinese made a purchase offer, including energy, and Trump said yes to the tariff cut".