China says reached phase one deal with U.S., to cancel Sunday tariffs

BEIJING (Reuters) - China and the United States have agreed on the text of a phase one trade deal, and Beijing has decided to cancel an earlier plan to impose additional tariffs on U.S. imports on Dec. 15, senior Chinese government officials said on Friday.

The United States has promised to cancel tariffs on a phased basis, China’s vice commerce minister Wang Shouwen said at a briefing, which officials from China’s state planner, finance ministry, foreign ministry and agriculture ministry also attended.

“Cancelling tariffs is core to China’s concerns in the trade negotiations, and both sides have reached agreement on that,” vice finance minister Liao Min said at the briefing.

“As both sides have reached a phase one deal, the United States has promised to cancel some planned and implemented tariffs, and will step up waivers granted to Chinese imports.”

China and the United States are discussing when and where to sign the deal, Liao said. China will import more U.S. wheat, rice and corn after the deal, Han Jun, vice minister of agriculture and rural affairs, told reporters.

China will also increase U.S. imports of energy, agriculture, pharmaceutical products and financial services, said Ning Jizhe, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, the state planner.

The officials did not give details on volume and value.

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When asked at the briefing about China’s commitment on U.S. farm goods purchases, Ning said specifics and figures will be disclosed later.

A trade deal will protect foreign firms’ interests in China while Chinese firms’ legal interests in dealing in the United States will be protected as well, Wang said.

Both countries have reached a consensus on dealing with intellectual property theft and cracking down on counterfeit goods, Wang added. China will step up protection of intellectual property but at its own pace, he said.

Negotiations for a phase two deal will depend on implementation of the phase one deal, Liao said.

Reporting by Stella Qiu and Martin Pollard; Writing by Meg Shen and Ryan Woo; Editing by Hugh Lawson