By Gerry Shih
Gao Feng, the ministry spokesman, did not say a “phase-one” agreement had already been reached, nor give a timetable for when one could happen, but he said the two countries have held “earnest and constructive” talks.
China has long said that the United States must roll back tariffs as a condition of a trade deal and has sought a tariff reduction as part of the first phase.
Gao’s comments lifted stocks and market futures in Asia and the United States amid a general sense of optimism that tensions are ratcheting down.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross earlier this week talked up the chances of phase one deal that he said would send a stabilizing message to the world.
President Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed last month to halt further tariff increases and resume talks. Trump had previously ordered new tariffs to take effect on Dec. 15 that would cover about $156 billion worth of Chinese-made electronics and toys. A 15 percent tariff increase, covering about $125 billion worth of imports, came into force in September.