US, China Take Another Step In Trade Talks, Chinese Official Says

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The U.S. and China are coming closer to lifting some tariffs in what appears to be the beginning of a potential trade deal, China’s commerce ministry announced Thursday, although doubts among U.S. officials as to the specifics of a deal remain.

The announcement came after President Donald Trump met with Chinese trade officials in October and announced that the two countries would work to move toward a tentative agreement, the first phase of which he said could begin in November.

“If the phase-one deal is signed, China and the U.S. should remove the same proportion of tariffs simultaneously based on the content of the deal,” Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said during a press briefing Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported. “This is what [both sides] agreed on following careful and constructive negotiations over the past two weeks.”

“The trade war started with tariffs, and should end with the cancellation of tariffs,” the commerce ministry spokesman continued, according to Reuters. (RELATED: Xi Jinping: Those Who Attempt To Divide China Will ‘End In Crushed Bodies And Shattered Bones’)

“In the past two weeks, the lead negotiators from both sides have had serious and constructive discussions on resolving various core concerns appropriately,” Gao said, adding that “both sides have agreed to cancel additional tariffs in different phases, as both sides make progress in their negotiations.”

People familiar with the matter confirmed the announcement with The Washington Post, but said officials still have to lock down details before President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping officially sign a deal.

Tariffs Trump implemented against China have cost Americans an additional $38 billion since February 2018, according to data anti-tariff campaign Tariffs Hurt the Heartland and consulting firm The Trade Partnership released Wednesday.

China has not released data showing how the trade war has hurt its economy, though more than 50 global companies including Apple, Nintendo and Dell, reportedly rushed to pull production out of China in July, according to CNBC, citing the Nikkei Asian Review.

Trump’s tariffs against China were an effort to hold China accountable for what Trump’s top trade negotiator, Peter Navarro, called its “seven deadly sins”: currency manipulation, cyberattacks, selling fentanyl to the U.S., intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, product-dumping and subsidized state-owned enterprises.

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