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Report: China offers to boost US imports over 6 years to help complete deal

As the U.S. and China race against a March 1 deadline for a long-awaited trade deal, Beijing is offering to buy billions of dollars' worth of American imports over the next six years to completely offset the two countries' trade imbalance, according to a Jan. 18 report by Bloomberg News.

Citing officials familiar with the negotiations, the Bloomberg report said China would increase annual goods from the U.S. by a combined value of more than $1 trillion, which, if implemented, would effectively reduce its trade surplus to zero by 2024.

Trump has long lambasted the trade imbalance and U.S. reliance on imports from the world's largest exporter.

China had a $323.3 billion goods trade surplus with the U.S. in 2017, according to the Chinese government.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which is leading trade talks with China, did not immediately return a request for comment.

The two countries are in a 90-day detente that began Dec. 1 after President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed not to impose further tariffs on one another's goods as they seek a trade war resolution. Negotiators are working to complete a deal before the end of the day March 1. If a deal is not reached, the Trump administration has said it will forge ahead on March 2 with a scheduled rise in tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25% from the current 10% rate.

The Jan. 18 report comes amid a string of positive developments in an otherwise tumultuous U.S.-China trade relationship under the Trump administration. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is expected to lead a team of Chinese negotiators to Washington for talks beginning Jan. 30.

The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 17 that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin floated the possibility of dialing back or even completely removing the steep tariffs on Chinese goods in order to incentivize China to make concessions ahead of any potential trade deal.

Roughly two weeks before that report, China agreed to buy American rice for the first time.