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US-China trade negotiators reach preliminary agreement short of a comprehensive deal

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US and Chinese negotiators reached a preliminary agreement Friday that will ease trade tensions, but it falls short of a comprehensive deal.

“We’ve come to a very substantial phase one deal,” President Donald Trump announced in the Oval Office alongside Chinese Vice Premier Liu He Friday afternoon. “We’ve come to a deal, pretty much, subject to getting it written.”

The deal, Trump said, amounts to a “love fest” after months of friction.

Finalizing the agreement on paper, Trump said, would take three to five weeks.

“We’re going to be in Chile together in the big summit,” he added, appearing to confirm a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the APEC summit next month.

“We’ve come to a deal on intellectual property, financial services, a tremendous deal for the farmers — a purchase of from $40-50 billion worth of agricultural products,” he added.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who was in the room, confirmed that “while we go through a process of documenting this, we will not be implementing the increase on tariffs that were scheduled to go in place from 25 to 30%” next week.

Liu also delivered a letter from Xi to the President during the Oval Office meeting. An English translation provided by the White House indicates that Xi sent his “best wishes” to the negotiations.

“A healthy and steady China-US relationship serves the interest of our two countries and the world at large,” the letter states. “I hope the two sides will act in the principle and direction you and I have agreed to, and work to advance China-US relations based on coordination, cooperation and stability.”

Earlier Friday, Trump and other officials close to the US-China trade talks indicated there was better-than-expected progress on Thursday during the first day of high-level negotiations in Washington , causing stocks to buoy Friday morning in the hopes a deal would be reached.

Trump previously told press Thursday afternoon that he thought negotiations were “going really well.”

Officials worked through Thursday at the offices of the US Trade Representative and remained at the table during a planned lunch break.

On Friday morning, the Dow rallied about 400 points. The stock bounce came as a new University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey indicated that optimism among American consumers rebounded in October to the highest level in three months, due in part to easing concern over the US-China trade war.

Friday’s deal follows Wednesday’s near stalemate when, according to a person familiar with the preliminary deputy-level talks, there was little to no progress on some of the core issues the US has been looking at on technology and industrial policy issues.

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