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Trump agrees to freeze higher tariffs on $200B in Chinese goods — for now

Posted at 9:12 AM, Dec 02, 2018

(CNN) -- The leaders of the world's two largest economies, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, agreed to a temporary truce on trade Saturday at a highly anticipated dinner in Argentina.

After the two-and-a-half hour discussion, Trump agreed to maintain the 10% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, and not raise them to 25% "at this time" ahead of a January 1 deadline, according to a White House statement from press secretary Sarah Sanders.

In exchange, China agreed it was willing to purchase a "very substantial" amount of agriculture, energy and other goods from the United States to help reduce the trade imbalance.

Calling the extended meeting "friendly and candid," State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the two leaders had agreed to open their markets to each other and to step up negotiations toward elimination of all additional tariffs.

A Chinese state media report said that the meeting had reached "an important consensus," pointing out "the direction for Sino-US relations in the near future."

"If it happens it goes down as one of the largest deals ever made," Trump told reporters on Air Force One during the return trip from the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. "It will have an incredibly positive impact on farming, meaning agriculture, industrial products, computers, every type of product."

According to the White House statement, the two leaders agreed to immediately begin negotiations on top US concerns related to forced technology transfer, intellectual property and cyber theft. Both parties agreed to complete negotiations within 90 days. If they fail to reach a deal, the 10% tariffs will rise to 25%.

In his remarks, Wang did not specifically mention the 90-day time limit the White House said negotiations had to be completed by.

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