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U.S.-China Trade Deal Near, but Trump Not Ready to Sign Off, Kudlow Says

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11/14/2019 | 07:48pm EST

By Harriet Torry

WASHINGTON -- U.S. and Chinese negotiators are nearing a trade deal, but President Trump isn't ready to sign off, White House economic adviser Lawrence Kudlow said Thursday.

The two sides are "getting close" to an agreement, Mr. Kudlow said Thursday during a question-and-answer event at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Negotiators for the U.S. and China have been working to come up with a written "phase one" trade deal in which Beijing would commit to buying American farm products and the U.S. would agree to roll back tariffs it has imposed on Chinese imports.

Both countries were initially working toward a deal that Mr. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could sign at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile, but the summit was canceled because of rioting in Chile. The cancellation, combined with difficulties at the bargaining table, has disrupted the time frame.

Mr. Trump has said that China has agreed to buy up to $50 billion in U.S. farm goods annually, but The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that China was balking at making a specific dollar commitment.

The expected rollback of tariffs has emerged as a major stumbling block, with China pushing the U.S. to remove all levies while the U.S. has pushed for a limited or phased rollback as leverage to ensure China lives up to its promises.

Write to Harriet Torry at harriet.torry@wsj.com

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