US and China are close to finalizing some sections of trade deal, US trade representative says

The U.S. and China have made progress in trade discussions and have come close to finalizing parts of a phase one deal, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Friday.

The agency issued a statement outlining the status of discussions following a conversation that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

“They made headway on specific issues and the two sides are close to finalizing some sections of the agreement,” USTR said. “Discussions will go on continuously at the deputy level, and the principals will have another call in the near future.”

The news helped to send major U.S. stock indexes to their Friday highs.

The world’s two largest economies have pushed for a trade agreement as they try to end a potentially devastating series of tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of each other’s goods. President Donald Trump aims to resolve longstanding concerns about Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property and forced technology transfers, and secure more Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural goods.