U.S., China in "final throes" of trade deal

Andrew Cummings
November 27, 2019

The U.S. and China are in the "final throes" of finalizing a phase one trade deal, President Trump said Tuesday at the White House, while again declining to say if he would sign a Hong Kong human rights bill that was approved by Congress. Trump said Washington was in the "final throes" of work on a deal, . that would defuse the 16-month long trade war.

China's Ministry of Commerce said in an online statement, "Both sides discussed resolving core issues of common concern, reached consensus on how to resolve related problems (and) agreed to stay in contact over remaining issues for a phase one agreement", the Chinese-language statement said, according to a CNBC translation.

"I guess you could say one of the most important deals in trade ever".

China wants US President Donald Trump to eliminate the 15 percent tariffs on about $125bn worth of Chinese goods imposed on September 1, as well as provide some relief from the 25 percent tariffs imposed on an earlier, $250bn list of industrial and consumer goods.

Relations between the two sides are also complicated by passage of a Bill through the USA legislature that supports pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong, and President Xi Jinping has called for an equal agreement.

On Friday, Trump boasted that he alone had prevented Beijing from crushing the demonstrations with a million soldiers, while adding that he had told Chinese President Xi Jinping that doing so would have "a tremendous negative impact" on trade talks.

The US Trade Representative's office confirmed yesterday's discussion took place, but declined to comment on the contents.

The world's two largest economies are trying to hammer out a "phase one" agreement.

Asked by a reporter for a message to Hong Kongers who voted for pro-democracy parties in this week's district council elections, Trump said: "Well, we're with them". A source familiar with the trade talks said the United States officials could go to Beijing after Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday. Commerce minister Zhong Shan, central bank governor Yi Gang and vice head of state planner Ning Jizhe also participated in the phone call with the top trade negotiators, Beijing said.

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