US President Donald Trump delivers remarks at a trade expo in Chicago, Illinois, the US, October 28 2019. Picture: REUTERS/LEAH MILLIS
US President Donald Trump delivers remarks at a trade expo in Chicago, Illinois, the US, October 28 2019. Picture: REUTERS/LEAH MILLIS

Washington — US President Donald Trump said on Monday he expected to sign a significant part of the trade deal with China ahead of schedule but did not elaborate on the timing.

“We are looking probably to be ahead of schedule to sign a very big portion of the China deal, we’ll call it ‘Phase One’ but it’s a very big portion,” he said before leaving on a visit to Chicago.

US stocks rose to a new record.  The S&P 500 was up 0.6% at 3,040.39, taking it past the index’s previous intraday record of 3,027.98 on July 26.

Leaders of the world’s two biggest economies are working to agree on the text for a “Phase One” trade agreement announced by Trump on October 11. Trump has said he hopes to sign the deal with Chinese  President Xi Jinping in November at a summit in Chile.

Trump on Monday said the signing was planned for the summit but made a reference to recent political unrest in Chile and said he believed they could work things out.

The US president said the phase one portion would “take care of the farmers” and “also take care of a lot of the banking needs”. “So we’re about I would say a little bit ahead of schedule maybe a lot ahead of schedule,” he said.

Agricultural products are a major area of discussion.

Beijing wants the US to cancel some existing US tariffs on Chinese imports, according to people briefed on high-level telephone discussions on Friday, in return for pledging to step up its purchases of US commodities such as soybeans.

The US wants Beijing to commit to buying these products at a specific time and price, while Chinese buyers would like the discretion to buy based on market conditions.

Beijing and Washington are trying to calm a nearly 16-month trade war that is roiling financial markets, disrupting supply chains and slowing global economic growth.

Trump agreed earlier in the month to cancel an October 15 increase in tariffs on $250bn in Chinese goods as part of a tentative agreement on agricultural purchases, increased access to China’s financial services markets, improved protections for intellectual property rights and a currency pact.

Reuters