US, China reach limited trade deal ahead of tariff deadline
The U.S. and China on Thursday reached a partial trade agreement that includes scrapping tariffs set to go into effect on Sunday, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Further specifics of the limited deal were not immediately clear, and it must still be signed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day MORE and leaders in Beijing.
A statement from the White House was expected at some point Thursday evening, according to an official. The White House declined to comment.
The agreement, which was first reported by Bloomberg News, comes just days before tariffs on roughly $160 billion on Chinese goods — including cellphones, video games and certain toys — were set to increase.
Trump originally delayed those tariffs in August, saying the tariffs would go into effect Dec. 15.
The president huddled Thursday afternoon to discuss the situation with China with some of his top trade advisers, including Larry KudlowLawrence (Larry) Alan KudlowMORE, Peter Navarro, Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinUS, China reach limited trade deal ahead of tariff deadline Lawmakers strike spending deal to avert shutdown McConnell accuses Democrats of stonewalling funding talks with wall demands MORE and U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerGOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be ‘huge mistake’ Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 Pelosi sounds hopeful on new NAFTA deal despite tensions with White House MORE.
The deal does not appear to address structural changes to Beijing’s economy that Trump’s White House has pushed for since the president first imposed tariffs more than a year ago, meaning the United States and China will continue negotiations in search of a broader agreement.
But even an initial deal with China would deliver a win for Trump on one of his marquee issues and would come just two days after Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiVulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Photographer leaves Judiciary hearing after being accused of taking photos of member notes Overnight Health Care — Presented by That’s Medicaid — House passes sweeping Pelosi bill to lower drug prices | Senate confirms Trump FDA pick | Trump officials approve Medicaid work requirements in South Carolina MORE (D-Calif.) said the House would take up the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), another priority for the president.
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Earlier on Thursday, Trump teased the possibility of some kind of pact with China, tweeting, “Getting VERY close to a BIG DEAL with China. They want it, and so do we!”
Trump first told reporters on Oct. 11 that the U.S. and China had come to terms “in principle” on a phase one deal that addressed agricultural purchases and some intellectual property issues. He indicated at the time that the agreement would be finalized and signed in a matter of weeks.
But talks dragged on and the president increasingly indicated a formal agreement could wait until well into 2020.
“I have no deadline,” Trump said at a NATO leaders’ meeting in London last week. “In some ways, I think it’s better to wait until after the election.”