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Photo: Artyom Ivanov/TASS via Getty Images

The U.S. and China agreed to a "phase one" trade deal on Friday, which President Trump touted in a series of tweets.

The state of play: The deal averts a new round of tariffs scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 15, and a Chinese official said that the U.S. would reduce its tariffs on Chinese goods in stages, per Bloomberg. The deal includes an agreement from China to increase imports from the U.S. and purchase agricultural goods.

  • Sunday's tariffs on $160 billion of Chinese imports would have directly affected consumer goods such as cell phones, laptops, video game consoles and toys.
  • The president, who called the deal "amazing," also said that he would "begin negotiations on the Phase Two Deal immediately, rather than waiting until after the 2020 Election."

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Dan Primack: This is Trump trying to save face. The deal seems to basically be an agriculture purchase agreement — and does little to address the core issues that the president supposedly cares about.

  • China wanted and needed to purchase the agricultural goods anyway.
  • The dropped December tariffs also don't really have an impact on American consumers during the holiday season, as those goods have already been imported.

The big picture: The 17-month U.S.-China trade war has lacked significant breakthroughs, causing major market uncertainty and hammering the U.S. manufacturing industry.

  • Recent data, however, has shown China's economy is also taking a hit, giving Beijing extra incentive to strike a deal that would delay the December tariffs.

Between the lines: Optimism for a trade war reprieve was low in the wake of Trump's suggestion earlier this month that he "liked the idea" of waiting until after the 2020 election to strike a deal with China.

  • A source close to Trump's negotiating team also told Axios' Jonathan Swan that the China deal had been stalled as a result of legislation from Congress expressing support for anti-government protestors in Hong Kong, which infuriated Beijing.

Go deeper: The trade war is working — kind of

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Army to award Purple Hearts to troops injured in Iran missile attack

Damage at Ain al-Asad military airbase housing U.S. and other foreign troops in the western Iraqi province of Anbar in January 2020. Photo: Ayman Henna/AFP via Getty Images

The Army has approved 39 more Purple Hearts for U.S. soldiers wounded in an Iranian military ballistic missile attack on an Iraq base in January 2020, the Army Times first reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: Most of these soldiers sustained brain injuries, per the Army Times. Then-President Trump dismissed their injuries at the time as "headaches" and "not very serious," sparking backlash from some veterans groups.

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems invoke Robert Byrd to sell Manchin on Senate rules changes

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Diana Walker, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A small group of Senate Democrats is privately invoking the legacy of late West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd in an effort to sway Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to support their plans to change the chamber's rules, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Manchin — who holds Byrd's Senate seat — has often referenced his predecessor's strong moral conviction and insistence on preserving the Senate as an institution, as justification for some of his tough positions.