TRUMP 'SIGNS OFF' ON DEAL TO PAUSE US-CHINA TRADE WAR

The US and China are close to signing a trade deal that averts another round of tariffs due to start on Sunday.

• The deal could be announced as soon as Friday, after US President Donald Trump reportedly signed off on the terms.

• The US has agreed to remove some tariffs as part of the agreement. In exchange, China would boost purchases of US farm goods.

• Many of the more difficult issues are still to be addressed, but the progress sent US share markets to record highs.

• "It's a good starting point," Chamber of Commerce head of international affairs Myron Brilliant told broadcaster CNBC after meeting with White House officials.

US PRESIDENT, DONALD TRUMP (LEFT) AND CHINESE PRESIDENT XI JINPING (RIGHT)

The US and China are close to signing a trade deal that averts another round of tariffs due to start on Sunday.


The deal could be announced as soon as Friday, after US President Donald Trump reportedly signed off on the terms.


The US has agreed to remove some tariffs as part of the agreement. In exchange, China would boost purchases of US farm goods.


THE US REPORTEDLY OFFERED TO HALVE TARIFF RATES ON ABOUT $350BN WORTH OF CHINESE GOODS, SOME OF WHICH HAD CLIMBED AS HIGH AS 25%. HOWEVER, THE DEAL IS NOT EXPECTED TO ADDRESS MANY OF THE MORE DIFFICULT ISSUES THAT TRIGGERED THE FIGHT, LIKE CHINA'S SUBSIDIES FOR CERTAIN INDUSTRIES.


Many of the more difficult issues are still to be addressed, but the progress sent US share markets to record highs.


"It's a good starting point," Chamber of Commerce head of international affairs Myron Brilliant told broadcaster CNBC after meeting with White House officials.


A deal would deliver a victory to Mr Trump, who is under political pressure, with debate on his impeachment underway in the US Congress.


He tweeted earlier on Thursday that the US and China were "very" close to an agreement.

"They want it and so do we!" he wrote.


Previous truces have collapsed and without a formal announcement or presentation of a written agreement, many remained wary. The hints of progress on Thursday still sent the main US stock indexes up about 1%.


The US reportedly offered to halve tariff rates on about $350bn worth of Chinese goods, some of which had climbed as high as 25%.


However, the deal is not expected to address many of the more difficult issues that triggered the fight, like China's subsidies for certain industries.


As described, the potential agreement falls short of what the US initially said were its goals, said Jennifer Hillman, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former trade official.


"This should NOT be described as a trade agreement," she wrote on Twitter.


"It is a purchase and sale agreement that does virtually nothing to address substantive concerns of US (+rest of the world) with China's trade practices."


Mr Trump has repeatedly declared progress toward a deal that would end the trade war, which has seen tariffs imposed on more than $450bn worth of US-China trade and weighed on the global economy.


In October, he announced that the two sides had agreed to terms for a "Phase One" deal, bu