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U.S. reaches 'deal in principle' with China on trade: source

Kitco News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House has reached a "deal in principle" with Beijing to resolve the 17-month U.S.-China trade war, according to a source briefed on the trade talks.

The White House was expected to make an announcement later on Thursday, the source said.

"The written agreement is still being formulated, but they have reached an agreement in principle," the source said. No details were immediately available.

In an attempt to secure a "phase one" trade deal, U.S. negotiators offered to cut existing tariffs on Chinese goods by as much as 50% and suspend new tariffs that were scheduled to go into effect on Sunday, two people familiar with the negotiations said earlier on Thursday.

The U.S.-China trade war has slowed global growth and dampened profits and investment for companies around the world.

If President Donald Trump does not suspend the new tariffs, Beijing officials will apply more tariffs on U.S. goods and may suspend talks until after the U.S. presidential election in November 2020, trade experts believe.

The Dec. 15 tariffs would apply to almost $160 billion of Chinese imports such as video game consoles, computer monitors.

China and the United States agreed in October to conclude a preliminary trade agreement, but Beijing is balking at U.S. demands that it promise to buy a specific amount of agricultural goods. Beijing is also demanding rollbacks of all existing tariffs imposed by the United States.

Beijing has said previously it would retaliate if the United States escalates the trade dispute.

In August, China said it would impose 5% and 10% in additional tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. goods in two batches. Tariffs on the first batch kicked in on Sept. 1, hitting U.S. goods including soybeans, pork, beef, chemicals and crude oil.

The tariffs on the second batch of products are due to be activated on Dec. 15, affecting goods ranging from corn and wheat to small aircraft and rare earth magnets.

China also said it will reinstitute on Dec. 15 an additional 25% tariff on U.S.-made vehicles and 5% tariffs on auto parts that had been suspended at the beginning of 2019.

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