United States President Donald Trump has said the phase one trade deal with China is in the “final throes.”

The positive hints on a limited trade deal with China were also amplified by reports from China that top negotiators from the two sides had telephonic talks and agreed to work on the sticking issues.

“We’re in the final throes of a very important deal. I guess you could say one of the most important deals in trade ever. It’s going very well but at the same time we want to see it go well in Hong Kong,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday.

Trump’s comments lifted markets and Wall Street’s three major indexes to a high, per Reuters.

China’s Commerce Ministry confirmed telephonic talks between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin with Chinese Vice Premier Liu on trade issues.

It said “core concerns” were exchanged and “reached a consensus on how to resolve these issues,” while agreeing to keep the conversation going.

But Trump also reiterated Washington’s support for protesters in Hong Kong. China had summoned U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad on Monday to convey its protest on the passage of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act in U.S. Congress calling it interference in its internal affairs.

Regarding the Hong Kong issue, Trump said he has a good relationship with China President Xi Jinping and expected a positive outcome, where pro-democracy activists have won almost 90 percent of 452 district council seats in Sunday’s elections.

Trump for a deal in phases

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway also said the two big economies are “getting close” on a “phase one” trade deal. Speaking to Fox News, Conway said President Trump wanted to “do this in phases, in interim pieces because it’s such a large, historic trade deal.”

Conway also referred to the important sticking points on the deal, “We continue to negotiate. But those forced technology transfers, the theft of intellectual property, the trade imbalance of a half a trillion dollars a year with the world's second-largest economy, China -- this makes no sense to people.”

Meanwhile, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley told reporters that China invited the U.S negotiators to visit Beijing for in-person talks and they are willing to go if “a real chance of getting a final agreement” exists.

Donald Trump denied China's statement that the economic superpowers had agreed a plan to roll back tariffs as trade talks progress
Donald Trump denied China's statement that the economic superpowers had agreed a plan to roll back tariffs as trade talks progress AFP / MANDEL NGAN

An insider source said the U.S. officials may travel to Beijing after Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday.

Global trade shrinking, new data shows

Meanwhile, CNN reported that the latest data from the CPB World Trade Monitor showed global trade has shrunk 1.3 percent in September. This was a serious decline compared to August when trade grew 0.5 percent.

“Trade tensions have slammed the brake on world trade growth in 2019. While the trade war directly affected trade flows between China and the US, the fallout has been widespread,” said Timme Spakman, an economist at ING in a note to the clients.