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U.S.-China trade deal close, White House says, after negotiators speak by phone

Stock Markets Nov 26, 2019 11:33AM ET
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By Andrea Shalal, Doina Chiacu and Kevin Yao

WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) - The United States and China are close to agreement on the first phase of a trade deal, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said on Tuesday, after top negotiators from the two countries spoke by telephone and agreed to keep working on remaining issues.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke with Chinese Vice Premier Liu on Tuesday morning, China's Commerce Ministry said, as the world's two largest economies try to hammer out a "phase one" deal in a 16-month trade war that is slowing global growth.

They discussed core issues related to the phase one deal, the ministry said.

Completion of a phase one deal had been expected in November, but trade experts and people close to the White House said last week it could slide into the new year, as Beijing presses for more extensive tariff rollbacks and Washington counters with its own demands.

Tuesday's news lifted markets, with Wall Street's three major indexes adding slightly to the previous days' records. Reaching a trade agreement with China is one of U.S. President Donald Trump's top priorities.

Conway told Fox News the United States and China were nearing agreement on the preliminary deal.

"We're getting really close and that first phase is significant," she said, adding that Trump wanted to "do this in phases, in interim pieces because it's such a large, historic trade deal."

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, told reporters on Tuesday, an initial trade deal with China could be reached before the end of the year.

He said China had invited Lighthizer and Mnuchnin to visit Beijing for in-person talks and they were willing to go if they saw "a real chance of getting a final agreement."

The U.S. trade representative and the Treasury did not respond to requests for comment. A source familiar with the trade talks said the U.S. officials could go to Beijing after the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.

In October, Trump said he expected to quickly dive into a second phase of talks once "phase one" had been completed, focusing on U.S. complaints that China effectively steals U.S. intellectual property by forcing U.S. firms to transfer their technology to Chinese rivals.

U.S. and Chinese officials, lawmakers and trade experts warn such follow-on negotiations may prove difficult given the November 2020 U.S. presidential election, the difficulties in getting the first-stage done, and the White House's reluctance to work with other countries to pressure Beijing.

"We continue to negotiate," Conway said. "But those forced tech transfers, the theft of intellectual property, the trade imbalance of a half a trillion a year with the world's second largest economy, China - this makes no sense to people.

"But the president wants a deal. But President Trump always waits for the best deal," she said.

Tuesday's call took place amid heightened tensions on various fronts between Beijing and Washington, with China saying on Tuesday that it had summoned U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad on Monday to protest the passage in the U.S. Congress of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.

China's foreign ministry said the legislation amounted to interference in a Chinese internal matter.

Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, central bank governor Yi Gang and vice head of state planner Ning Jizhe also participated in the phone call.

U.S.-China trade deal close, White House says, after negotiators speak by phone
 

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Comments (19)
jiaming wang
jiaming wang Nov 26, 2019 2:37PM ET
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Fake news. Anything from Twitter?
Hank Williams
Hank Williams Nov 26, 2019 2:12PM ET
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the algos in this app are very biased.
JJ MM
JJ MM Nov 26, 2019 1:43PM ET
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Just going over the holidays with this so-called “close deal.” Then China will release something over the weekend that totally contradicts this close deal and the kicking of the can continues which is keeping the market where its at. This is a much better tactic than securing a deal. Its better to show that theres a deal being negotiated rather than no deal and when its really getting to crunch time and no deal insight, the blame card will be used, stating that China wants to cheat our country out of something and he wont allow that, blah blah blah...something like that.
Jack AAA
Jack_A Nov 26, 2019 12:20PM ET
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after deal, the market will tank, because no more beautiful lies!!
Tracy Lee
Tracy Lee Nov 26, 2019 11:43AM ET
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Don’t close the “great” trade deal. Just keep saying hope is near. Poor traders keep listen to the lies.
TA XVCI
TA XVCI Nov 26, 2019 11:43AM ET
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Soon the surprise will hit their faces.
Bin John
Bin John Nov 26, 2019 11:22AM ET
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Deal and Bank based economy
gary leibowitz
gary leibowitz Nov 26, 2019 11:00AM ET
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Embarrassing to expose the American citizens inability to distinguish right from wrong, moral and ethical boundaries.  Every single day we get more revelations of atrocious criminal behavior and the public just gets bored of it.   Trump spent over a year being investigated over Russian help winning the election. his crones and propaganda machines like FOX present preposterous narratives that seem to be lapped up by his loyalists.   What does this have to do with TRADE WAR?  Everything!  His motives are always the same, self enriching. he never card about the citizens that voted him in. YOU have given him a green light to be as destructive as humanly possible. Given his power it is almost unlimited.  There will never be a completed deal simply because the bully sets conditions impossible to meet. I guess 3 years of this CON MAN isn't proof enough?
drew allen
drew allen Nov 26, 2019 11:00AM ET
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change the record already, this is why hes winning cause people like you who blast him over nothing. Russia proved hillary worked with the russians now this impeachment proves Biden worked with Ukraine, its your party who is corrupt. stop watching cnn. but again the same ol same ol story why is approval rating are going up why fox news is the most watched cable news network the last 3 years. more middle Americans see the truth over the bs, it's just closed minded people like yourself who only see hate that still watch cnn. sad buddy
Thang Do
Thang Do Nov 26, 2019 10:39AM ET
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no deal until after the election
Adegbola Ademola
Adegbola Ademola Nov 26, 2019 10:06AM ET
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help
Kenny Venezia
Kenny Venezia Nov 26, 2019 9:55AM ET
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you only kind of deal we're going to see soon if Trump and this Administration who's in deep trouble sell us out
 
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