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Trump administration reveals details of 'phase one' of trade deal with China


What you need to know

Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Donald Trump announced Friday that the U.S. and China had come to an agreement on "phase one" of a deal that could lead to a resolution of the long-running trade conflict between the two nations. Here are some key facts to know about the deal:

The deal is "tremendous" for U.S. farmers. President Trump called it a "tremendous deal for the farmers," saying that it included an agreement for China to purchase between $40 and $50 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products. Farmers have suffered during the trade dispute, as many struggled to sell crops with China unavailable as a buyer.

Trump will hold off on more tariffs. The U.S. agreed to hold off on a tariff increase that was set to take effect this week as a part of a deal that is probably best described as a "truce." However, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin did not eliminate the possibility that more tariffs could be imposed in December if a full trade deal isn't done by then. And, the agreement does not roll back tariffs that were implemented in September.

There are some potential obstacles, still. While this agreement represents a foundation upon which the U.S. and China can potentially progress to more detailed talks, there are a few potential roadblocks to a full deal. Christiaan Tuntono, senior economist for Asia Pacific at Allianz Global Investors, told CNBC there are some significant issues to overcome, such as "more sensitive areas" like cybersecurity, currency manipulation, and Chinese companies that have been blacklisted from doing business in the U.S.

The Chinese are cautious about what this means. "The final outcome will depend on whether the U.S. can walk together with China, and create the necessary and sufficient conditions to push ahead," China's official statement on the agreement said.

"As based on its past practice, there is always the possibility that Washington may decide to cancel the deal if it thinks that doing so will better serve its interests," an article in the state-owned China Daily stated.

Talks are ongoing. Phase one is not a stopping point, as Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said that "phase two will start almost immediately" after the signing of phase one, which is set to be drafted over the next three weeks.

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