U.S., China Have ‘Fundamental Agreement’  on Trade, Mnuchin Says

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(Bloomberg) — The U.S. and China made a “fundamental agreement” on several trade issues last week though there are still many details to be worked out and documented, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

“I expect there will be a deal,” Mnuchin said Monday on CNBC television. The sides made “substantial progress” last week in negotiations and Mnuchin said he expects President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping to finalize the accord at a summit in Chile next month.

Bloomberg News reported earlier Monday that China wants further talks as soon as the end of October to hammer out the details of the “phase one” trade deal touted Friday by Trump before Xi agrees to sign it, according to people familiar with the matter.

Asked about reports that a deal might be further off, Mnuchin said he “wouldn’t pay too much attention” to what he called speculation.

The details of the verbal agreement reached in Washington last week between the two nations remain unclear. While Trump hailed an increase in agricultural purchases as “the greatest and biggest deal ever made for our Great Patriot Farmers in the history of our Country,” China’s state-run media only said the two sides “agreed to make joint efforts toward eventually reaching an agreement.”

Mnuchin repeatedly said on CNBC that the countries have a “fundamental agreement” even though the wording and details are still to be worked out.

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