Published: Wed, November 27, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

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

U.S., China in

Top Chinese and US trade negotiators spoke by phone and agreed to continue to work toward a preliminary agreement for resolving their tariff war, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said Tuesday.

China said it had summoned US ambassador Terry Branstad on Monday to protest the passage in the US Congress of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, saying the bill amounted to interference in a Chinese internal matter.

At an Oval Office event to sign an executive order to address violence against Native American women, Trump was asked by a reporter if he had a message for the people of Hong Kong after their recent local election, in which pro-democracy parties scored a resounding victory. "We're in the final throes of a very important deal - I guess you could say one of the most important deals in trade ever".

"It's going very well but at the same time we want to see it go well in Hong Kong".

"The two sides have basically reached broad consensus for the phase one agreement", Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing who is close to the trade talks, was quoted as telling the Global Times, adding that Washington and Beijing had agreed to roll back tariffs, but had not agreed on the specifics or size of the tariff removals.

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Mr Trump said last week that a trade deal with China was "potentially very close", but it "can't be like an even deal" because the United States is "starting off from the floor" and China is "already at the ceiling".

On Saturday, U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said an initial trade deal with China was still possible by the end of the year. -China trade disputes, according to Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, a US anti-tariff advocacy group.

An ambitious "phase two" trade deal between the United States and China is, meanwhile, looking less likely, according to Washington and Beijing officials, lawmakers and trade experts.

The world's two largest economies are trying to hammer out a "phase one" agreement. "But President Trump always waits for the best deal", she said.

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

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