TEHRAN (Dispatches) - The U.S. and China have agreed on the outlines of a partial trade accord that President Donald Trump said he and his counterpart Xi Jinping could sign as soon as next month.
As part of the deal, China would significantly step up purchases of U.S. agricultural commodities, agree to certain intellectual-property measures and concessions related to financial services and currency, Trump said Friday at the White House. In exchange, the U.S. will delay a tariff increase due next week as the deal is finalized, though new levies scheduled for December haven’t yet been called off.
The agreement marks the largest breakthrough in the 18-month trade war that has hurt the economies of both nations. Importantly, Trump said the deal was the first phase of a broader agreement. The president indicated he could sign a deal with Xi at an upcoming November summit in Chile.
While the limited agreement may resolve some short-term issues, several of the thorniest disputes remain outstanding. U.S. goals in the trade war center around accusations of intellectual-property theft, forced technology transfer and complaints about Chinese industrial subsidies.
Xi told Trump in a letter -- which the White House distributed on Friday -- that it’s important the countries work together to address each others’ concerns. "I hope the two sides will act in the principle and direction you and I have agreed to, and work to advance China-U.S. relations based on coordination, cooperation and stability,” the letter said.
Chinese state news agency Xinhua said negotiators made efforts toward a final agreement, but stopped short of calling Friday’s outcome a deal. The Editor-in-Chief of China’s most prominent state-run newspaper Global Times, Hu Xijin, noted on Twitter that official reports from China didn’t mention Trump’s goal of signing the deal next month, which indicates Beijing wants to keep expectations low.
The Trump administration also said issues related to Huawei Technologies Co. aren’t part of Friday’s deal and will be a separate process. The Chinese telecommunications equipment maker, which was placed on an export blacklist in May, will be discussed in a second phase of the negotiations, the president told reporters later Friday.
Equities advanced globally Friday amid growing conviction that the world’s two biggest economies would negotiate a trade truce, though U.S. stocks pared gains after Trump’s announcement near the close of trading. Trump tweeted earlier Friday that if the countries did reach an agreement, he would be able to sign it without a lengthy congressional approval process.
*****Donald Trump shakes hands with Liu He in the Oval Office on Oct. 11.