Hope for US-China trade deal? Chinese firms inquire about US agricultural prices, report says, after Trump delays new tariffs

A top Chinese official said Thursday that companies in the country have been inquiring about the prices for U.S. soybeans and pork in what could be a positive sign during trade negotiations.

Gao Feng, spokesman for the Chinese Commerce Ministry, appeared to voice optimism about upcoming negotiations in Washington, saying at a weekly news briefing he hoped "both countries will create favorable conditions" to go forward, according to Reuters.

Hours earlier, President Trump announced on Twitter that he decided to delay -- for two weeks -- another round of tariffs increases on Chinese imports. He called his decision a goodwill gesture.

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“At the request of the vice premier of China, Liu He, and due to the fact that the People's Republic of China will be celebrating their 70th Anniversary on October 1st, we have agreed, as a gesture of good will [sic], to move the increased Tariffs on 250 Billion Dollars worth of goods (25% to 30%), from October 1st to October 15th,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

The talks are expected to take place in Washington next month. Trump’s plan to increase tariffs was met with opposition by farmers.

For more than a year, the world’s two largest economies have been locked in a high-stakes duel marked by Trump’s escalating penalties on Chinese goods and Beijing’s retaliatory tariffs.

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The U.S. recently imposed 15 percent tariffs on about $112 billion of Chinese imports. In total, Trump has imposed or announced penalties on about $550 billion of Chinese products, or almost everything the U.S. buys from the world's No. 2 economy.

The Associated Press and Fox Business contributed to this report.