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Fundamental Agreement Insisted by Mnuchin in China Trade Talks

On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin insisted the U.S. and China had reached a “fundamental agreement. Subject to documentation” throughout trade talks in Washington last week.

“We made substantial progress last week in the negotiations,” Mnuchin instructed to the news channel. “China has agreed on agriculture that they are going to take off tariffs on agriculture. We have reached a fundamental agreement.”

U.S. tariff hikes set to be levied on Chinese goods on Oct. 15 have been put off due to the negotiations, and Mnuchin stated he anticipates not moving ahead with Dec. 15 tariffs as a result of he believes a deal shall be in place by then.

Mnuchin stated financial services had been dealt with in phase one, whereas other aspects of the services market can be dealt with in phase two.

The Treasury secretary explained how the following round of negotiations will move forward now that bargaining on phase one of a trade deal was on the books.

“The next phase of deputy level calls is occurring this week. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and I will have a first-level call with Vice Premier Liu He next week,” Mnuchin stated, including that the two sides will “meet in Chile to finish the deal” through the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings in mid-November.

He pushed again against the notion that the deal was still up within the air, after state-owned newspaper China Daily wrote that “Champagne should probably be kept on ice, at least till the two presidents put pen to paper.”

The phase one agreement came days before customs information released Monday by Beijing showed Chinese exports to the U.S. fell 17.8 % to $36.5 billion in September, proof the trade war is taking a toll on the world’s second-largest economy. The U.S. is the biggest buyer of Chinese goods.

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