12 Oct 2019

Trump upbeat over partial trade deal with China

11:29 am on 12 October 2019

The United States and China have agreed to the first phase of a trade deal covering agricultural purchases, currency and some aspects of intellectual property protections, and averting a threatened tariff hike, but President Donald Trump said more needed to be negotiated.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (C) departs during trade talks with the US Secretary of Treasury and US Trade Representative at the office of the US Trade Representative in Washington, DC, October 10, 2019.

China's Vice Premier Liu He leaves the trade talks that are being held in Washington. Photo: AFP

The preliminary, partial deal was the biggest step toward resolving a 15-month tariff war between the world's two largest economies that has roiled financial markets, disrupted manufacturing and slowed global growth.

Mr Trump told reporters at the White House that the two sides are very close to ending the trade war and it will take up to five weeks to get the deal written. He spoke after talks with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

US President Donald Trump speaks after announcing an initial deal with China while meeting the special Envoy and Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China Liu He at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on October 11, 2019. -

Donald Trump tells media at the White House that there's been a breakthrough in a bitter trade war with China. Photo: AFP

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters Mr Trump had agreed not to proceed with a hike in tariffs to 30 percent from 25 percent on about $US250 billion ($NZ394b) in Chinese goods that was supposed to have gone into effect on Tuesday.

But Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Mr Trump had not made a decision about tariffs that were subject to go into effect in December.

China has agreed to buy $US40 billion to $US50 billion in US farm products as the world's two biggest economies reached a ceasefire in their 15-month trade war.

The White House said the two sides made some progress on the thornier issues, including China's lax protection of foreign intellectual property.

But more progress will have to be made on key differences in later negotiations, including US allegations China forces foreign countries to hand over trade secrets in return for access to the Chinese market.

Major US stock indexes, which were trading sharply higher on hopes of some sort of a deal, pared some of the gains after the announcement, with the S&P 500 index up about 1.4 percent.

The market had risen sharply earlier in the day due to optimism for an agreement.

"Anything that was less than a comprehensive agreement was likely to see some degree of market sell off," said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.

"The timing had a lot to do with the volatility. There were 15 minutes to go in the trading day on a Friday... after the Dow had risen 700 points in the last two days," he said.

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