USA and China near to phase one trade deal

The US is set to impose 15 per cent additional tariffs on $213 billion of Chinese products on Dec 15 including video game consoles and computer monitors

Experts aren't convinced by Trump's comments with one analyst saying, "If I had a pound for every time we heard a phase one trade deal was close".

Top Chinese and USA 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.

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 USA is "starting off from the floor" and China is "already at the ceiling". The two nations have been working to put it in writing since then, and had hoped to sign it in mid-November. I think that President Xi can make that happen. "I know him and I know he'd like to make it happen".

The legislation has greatly angered Beijing and Trump has been vague about whether he would sign or veto it as he tries to strike a deal with China to end a damaging 16-month trade war.

His remarks followed a telephone call on Tuesday by USA trade representative Robert Lighthizer and treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin with Chinese Vice Premier Liu that was disclosed by China's commerce ministry. "But President Trump always waits for the best deal", she said.

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However, President Trump also underscored Washington's support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, . which observers say could have an impact on relations with China. She said Trump wanted to "do this in phases, in interim pieces because it's such a large, historic trade deal".

The new legislation, approved unanimously by the Senate and by all but one House lawmaker, requires the State Department to certify, at least annually, that Hong Kong retains enough autonomy to justify favorable USA trading terms that have helped it maintain its position as a world financial center. They discussed issues related to a "phase one" deal and agreed to maintain communication on remaining issues, the ministry said. "We continue to negotiate", Conway said.

Even if Trump vetoes the bill as China has demanded, it could become law anyway via a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate.

"Congress has now taken action", Pompeo said.

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