President Donald Trump said China has indicated that negotiations over an initial trade deal are advancing, raising expectations the nations’ leaders could sign an agreement at a meeting next month in Chile.
“They have started the buying,” Trump said Oct. 21 during a Cabinet meeting at the White House, referring to Chinese purchases of U.S. agriculture products that the president has pushed for as part of a deal. “I want more,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that it was more important to get details of the agreement right than it was for Trump to sign it at an expected meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping next month in Chile.
U.S. stocks traded near their highs for the day after Trump’s remark, with the S&P 500 up 0.6% as of 12:56 p.m. in New York.
Ross also told Fox Business Network that the “actual meat” of the agreement would come in two additional phases yet to be completed. The preliminary agreement, struck earlier this month, would see China significantly increase purchases of U.S. agricultural commodities and agree to some intellectual property, financial services and currency concessions. In exchange, the U.S. pledged to call off a tariff increase due to hit midmonth, just ahead of Christmas shopping season.
The agreement represents a pause in the 18-month trade war that has hurt the economies of both countries, but falls short of the dramatic overhaul of Chinese economic policy Trump has sought. The agreement also doesn’t address Huawei Technologies Co., which has pushed forward with a global effort to sign 5G commercial contracts even as the U.S. seeks to persuade other countries to blacklist the firm.