The Trump administration and China are close to finalizing a modest trade agreement that would suspend tariffs that are set to kick in Sunday, de-escalating their 17-month trade war, the AP reports. "We're close to a deal,'' said Myron Brilliant, the US Chamber of Commerce's head of international affairs, who has been briefed by both sides. Brilliant said the administration has agreed to suspend Trump's plans to impose tariffs on $160 billion in Chinese imports Sunday and to reduce existing tariffs, though it wasn't clear by how much. In return, Beijing would buy more US farm products, increase Americans companies' access to the Chinese market, and tighten protection for intellectual property rights. The deal awaits final approval from President Trump.
Trump took to Twitter early Thursday to declare: “Getting VERY close to a BIG DEAL with China. They want it, and so do we!"' Earlier Thursday, a spokesman for China's Ministry of Commerce, Gao Feng, had told reporters that “the economic and trade teams of both sides have maintained close communication.” He offered no additional details to release. Beijing had threatened to retaliate if Trump proceeded with plans to raise tariffs on $160 billion of Chinese imports Sunday. The two sides are negotiating a so-called Phase 1 agreement as part of the effort to resolve their sprawling trade dispute. Still, the truce leaves unsettled the toughest and most complex issues that have divided the two sides. (More on those issues here.)