US-China trade deal has 'very high probability' of happening: Wilbur Ross

'The devil is always in the details'

The U.S. and China are putting the finishing touches on an initial trade deal, but they aren't done yet.

The first phase of an agreement that may have as many as three phases will be "relatively limited in scope," with the major focus being on "current trade" and whether China is willing to commit to $40 billion to $50 billion of agriculture purchases, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo on "Mornings with Maria" on Friday. If China is willing to commit, the U.S. wants to make sure there are no "escape hatches to the commitment," he said.

"The important thing is to make sure that the deal is what we think it is," Ross added.

Speaking to reporters after an event at the Council on Foreign Relations on Thursday evening, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow echoed Ross' sentiment.

“We are coming down to the short strokes,” he said, according to Bloomberg, adding that the two sides are in communication every day.


After the framework for a phase one deal was announced last month, the two sides said they were hoping to sign the agreement at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Santiago, Chile, on Friday. The event was canceled due to unrest in the country, though, leaving the timetable for an agreement in doubt.

The cancellation "eliminated a very important deadline" and took off some of the time pressure, Ross said.

No decision has been made about the tariffs scheduled to hit $156 billion of Chinese goods on Dec. 15, the commerce secretary added. China has recently called on the U.S. to roll back tariffs as part of a phase one agreement. President Trump has ruled out such a measure.

Ross thinks a deal will eventually get done: There's a "very high probability," he said, but "the devil is always in the details."