Earlier Friday, Trump told White House press corps reporters that a "very substantial phase one deal" had been reached with the team of Beijing negotiators led by Vice Premier Liu He. For most of the week, reports surrounding the talks seemed almost universally negative, with Beijing saying it expected little from them. However, the interim deal reached on Friday will see planned US tariff hikes cancelled, settle some questions about currency exchange rates and reverse China’s pledge not to buy US agricultural products.
Xi’s letter notes the “goodwill” shown between the two teams of negotiators, “which has been welcomed by our two peoples and the international community.”
White House releases the translated letter to Trump from President Xi Jinping pic.twitter.com/eWyMGkUT95— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) October 11, 2019
“Mr. President, I attach great importance to your concerns on agricultural products,” the Chinese president continued. “Recently, the Chinese companies involved have accelerated purchases of American agricultural products, including soy beans and pork. With our two teams making progress on some parts of the agreement under consultation, it is important that we address each other’s concerns properly and make positive headway in the other areas as well.”
“A healthy and steady China-US relationship serves the interest of our two countries and the world at large. I hope the two sides will act in the principle and direction you and I have agreed to, and work to advance China-US relations based on coordination, cooperation, and stability. Let us work together to manage differences on the basis of mutual respect and expand cooperation for mutual benefit, so as to bring our relations forward along the right track.”
The interim deal leaves much of the nearly two-year-long trade war to be put back in the lamp, including the US Treasury’s designation of China as a currency manipulator, which Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin noted Friday might soon be removed.
However, Trump was careful to note in comments to the press Friday that while the new tariffs planned to enter effect on October 15 won’t happen, the existing hundreds of billions of dollars in trade penalties against Chinese-made imports to the US aren’t going anywhere for the time being.
Other outstanding issues include the US Commerce Department’s blacklisting of dozens of Chinese companies, most of which are tech firms. Huawei, ZTE, Dr. Peng and other leading Chinese tech companies have had heavy restrictions placed against them in recent months by Washington, effectively banning their use in the US market. US intelligence agencies have raised concerns about the firms’ proximity to the Chinese state, arguing that Beijing has or could pressure them into spying on the US or other countries - accusations both the companies and the Chinese government have strenuously denied.