Reports: US and China Reach Partial Trade Deal, Putting a Pause to October’s Planned Tariff Hike

The United States and China have reached a partial trade agreement on Friday, according to multiple reports, with President Donald Trump reportedly calling it a “substantial deal” that serves as a temporary truce to a more-than-yearlong financial dispute.

Following a scheduled meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the U.S. leader said that the world’s two largest economies have agreed to a “phase one” deal that includes China’s purchase of $40 billion to $50 billion worth of American agricultural products as well as guidelines on intellectual property, The New York Times reports. It also puts a pause to Trump’s planned tariff increase on Oct. 15, which would’ve boosted to 30% the existing duty of 25% already in place on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, per NYT.

The limited agreement is said to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive deal that Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping could sign in mid-November when they meet on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit.

Early in the day, Trump took to Twitter to share optimism regarding the status of trade talks with Chinese officials. “Good things are happening at China Trade Talk Meeting,” he wrote on the social platform. “Warmer feelings than in recent past, more like the Old Days.”

At a subsequent press briefing on Friday afternoon at the White House, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters, “We have had a productive two days of discussions.” Mnuchin was part of the group of U.S. negotiators — including U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer — that met with Chinese delegates on Thursday to discuss trade.

Over the past year and a half, the U.S. and China have imposed new duties on billions of dollars in imports coming from either country. On Sept. 1, Washington hit Beijing with a 15% levy on $112 billion worth of goods, the first portion of the fourth tranche of tariffs set to be implemented by the U.S. (China retaliated by slapping American products with new duties that range from 5% to 10%.) Tariffs on a remaining $188 billion — for a total of $300 billion representing the complete fourth tranche — are expected to take effect on Dec. 15.

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