The United States and China are expected to soon finalise a deal that would roll back US tariffs on at least $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, provided Beijing abides by its pledges, including better protection of intellectual property rights and better market access foe American goods.
The deal is subject to Beijing following up with proposed structural economic changes and elimination of retaliatory tariffs on US goods, reports citing sources close to the negotiations said on Sunday.
If the current progress of the negotiations are any indication, President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could seal a formal trade deal at a summit around 27 March, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
A deal could end an eight-month trade war that saw the United States imposing punitive tariffs on $250 billion worth of imports from China and Beijing hitting back with tariffs on $110 billion worth of US goods, mostly agricultural commodities.
The trade friction brought volatility in commodity and stock markets across the world and disrupted global supply chains for manufactured products.
Although no dates for a deal are not yet finalised, President Trump had on an earlier occasion said he expected to close a deal during a summit with his Chinese counterpart at his Mara-a-Lago estate in Florida in the coming weeks.
Reports also said that Beijing had reserved a 10-day window from around March 20 for a possible summit.
Several details, however, are yet to be worked out, including the terms of an enforcement mechanism to ensure that Beijing follows through on pledges on IPR, forced transfer of technology and curb industrial subsidies.
China is reported to have agreed on most non-enforceable issues like pledges to increase purchases of farm, energy and manufactured products, as well as six agreements on structural policy changes.
China would lower tariffs on US-made goods, including agricultural products, chemicals and cars in a quid-pro-quid basis, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people briefed on the matter on both sides.
As a part of the deal, China would buy $18 billion worth of natural gas from Houston-based Cheniere Energy Inc, the report said.
The newspaper’s sources cautioned that hurdles remain, and each side faces possible resistance at home that the terms are too favorable to the other side.
The US is working on a detailed trade agreement with China that will include specific structural commitments, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Thursday.