U.S. President Donald Trump has asked officials in his administration to start drafting the terms of a possible trade deal with China, Bloomberg reported Friday, citing four unnamed sources familiar with the matter.
A major remaining issue is intellectual property theft by Chinese companies, one of the sources told Bloomberg, which reported that multiple agencies are involved in the effort.
European futures, which were already largely pointing to the upside, moved higher following the report.
The report of a potential deal draft came after Trump said Thursday he had spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping amid concerns about escalating trade tensions between the world's two largest economies.
In a tweet, the president said he had a "long and very good conversation" with the Chinese leader, "with a heavy emphasis on trade." He added that "those discussions are moving along nicely" ahead of planned face-to-face meetings at the G-20 summit in Argentina later this month.
Experts have tried to read the recent trade "smoke signals" coming from the White House of late, but Rob Carnell, ING's chief economist and head of research for Asia Pacific, questioned the intention behind Trump's Thursday Twitter post. He told CNBC's "Street Signs" that the timing "feels a little bit too coincidental" given that midterm elections stateside are a few days away.