US-China partial trade deal: Main points of agreement

China's Vice-Premier Liu He shakes hands with US President Donald Trump during a meeting at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Oct 11, 2019. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Donald Trump on Friday (Oct 11) announced a partial trade deal with China after talks in Washington with Vice Premier Liu He.

Here are the main points of the agreement, which has yet to be signed.

A deal, in principle

Trump said he hoped to have a deal signed with President Xi Jinping "in four weeks, five weeks, something like that."

The signing could take place in the middle of November in Chile on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

"We have a fundamental understanding on the key issues... but there is more work to do," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters.

"We will not sign an agreement unless we get, and can tell the president, that this is on paper."

Mnuchin said Liu needed "to go back to do some work with his team, but we have made a lot of progress over the last two days," signalling that approval from the highest level in Beijing would be sought.

Previous apparent breakthroughs have faced opposition in Beijing and seen a resumption of the trade war.


China has pledged to rapidly increase purchases of US farm goods to US$40-50 billion (S$55 to S$68 billion) a year - a sharp rise that would be more than double the level in 2017.

In 2017, before the trade war started, China imported US$19.5 billion of US farm output, falling to just over US$9 billion in 2018.

Financial services and currencies

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (second from left) talks to China's Vice Premier Liu He (left) during a meeting with US President Donald Trump (centre back) and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (right) in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington on Oct 11, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

"We've had good discussions with... the head of the People's Bank of China, their central bank," Mnuchin said on Friday.

"We have also had extensive discussions on financial services opening up their markets to our financial services firms. So we have pretty much almost a complete agreement on both of those issues.

"Currency has been a very big concern... and we have an agreement around transparency into the foreign exchange markets and free markets, so we are very pleased with that." The US Treasury in August branded China a currency manipulator, accusing Beijing of deliberately weakening the yuan to gain unfair trade advantages.

Technology transfer

Trump said the talks had "made very good progress on technology transfer" - a key point of friction.

Without giving further details, he said an agreement could be reached soon, with US companies sharing their know-how in exchange for access to Chinese markets.

Intellectual property

"We have an agreement on intellectual property," the US president said, claiming another obstacle to an overall deal had been overcome.

Settling disputes

US chief negotiator Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said a dispute settlement mechanism was being finalised.

The mechanism is seen as essential by the United States to enforcing any agreement.

Lighthizer said the next round of tariffs due to hit on Dec 15 could be cancelled.

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