U.S., China reportedly consider rolling back tariffs to get initial trade deal done

In a move to help get a partial trade deal done, U.S. and Chinese officials are considering rolling back some tariffs, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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The two sides have reached an agreement in principle in what the Trump administration has been calling a "phase one" deal.

It would be the first of several phases intended to end the trade dispute.

The phase one pact would include Chinese purchases of American farm goods, rules to deter currency manipulation and some provisions to protect intellectual property and open up Chinese industries to U.S. firms.

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President Trump had planned on imposing brand-new tariffs on Dec. 15, but instead, some existing tariffs may be rolled back.

China’s foreign ministry sent positive signals about the trade talks on Monday, saying the two presidents are in contact and progress is being made on the negotiations.

Trump administration officials were considering cutting tariffs of 15 percent on about $111 billion in Chinese imports imposed Sept. 1, according to The Financial Times.

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In a conference call, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said he was "reasonably optimistic" that the phase one talks would be finished. More difficult issues would wait for later rounds, he said.

"We're hoping phase one will be a precursor of later agreements," Ross said.

Trump and Xi were due to meet at this month's gathering of Asia-Pacific leaders in Chile but the event was canceled due to protests.

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Ross said the two sides were looking for an alternative venue for a meeting.