USA and China close to reaching trade deal

Minnie Murray
March 6, 2019

USA and Chinese officials "have conducted fruitful and intensive consultations and made important progress on many issues of common concern", Zhang Yesui, a spokesman for the National People's Congress said in Beijing.

A source briefed on the negotiations told Reuters the two countries appear close to a deal that would roll back USA tariffs on at least $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Bloomberg reports an agreement could be reached and finalized later this month during a planned summit between China's President and President Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump's trade war cost American businesses and consumers $3 billion a month past year in higher prices, according to a study by top economists.

In a move meant to respond to Trump's repeated demands for a narrowing of America's trade gap with China, Beijing would also increase its purchases of United States goods, including a possible multi-billion-dollar buys of natural gas from the Cheniere Energy group.

Lighthizer has said the two countries plan to set up a system that requires regular consultations at various levels of the USA and Chinese governments to address irritants.

Benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo and Sydney advanced after Bloomberg News and The Wall Street Journal, citing unidentified sources, said China was offering to ease tariffs and other restrictions on USA farm, chemical, auto and other products.

"The law will be the framework for China to reduce its limits on foreign stakes in Chinese banks, insurers and asset management companies - something that Mr. Xi had agreed to do in November 2017, when Mr. Trump came to Beijing for talks ahead of the trade war", The New York Times reported. The mooted trade deal would require Beijing to follow through on pledges ranging from better protecting intellectual-property rights to buying a significant amount of American products, two people familiar with the discussions said.

Chinese officials made clear in a series of negotiations with the USA in recent weeks that removing levies on $200bn (€176bn) of goods quickly was necessary to finalise any deal, said the people, who weren't authorised to talk publicly about the deliberations.

The president, who has insisted that "trade wars are good and easy to win", has bragged repeatedly that even as trade negotiations have dragged on, China is paying the US "billions of dollars in tariffs".

Trump has said that negotiators are very close to an an agreement with China and a deal could be wrapped up later this month.

Statements by the USA president indicate the summit with his Chinese counterpart would be held in Mar-a-Lago in Florida, which the Journal places around March 27.

Beijing imposed tariffs previous year on imports of soybeans, grain sorghum, pork and other items, slashing shipments of American farm products to China.

Asian stocks rose Monday after news reports said Washington and Beijing are close to reaching an agreement as early as this month to end their costly tariff war.

This week also sees the release of Chinese trade data and key USA jobs figures, which will provide a fresh look at the state of the U.S. economy and the Federal Reserve's monetary policy plans.

A representative for the White House said they had no comment on the ongoing negotiations.

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