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Donald Trump has signed what he described as a “momentous’’ Phase One trade agreement with China, delivering a temporary truce in the trade war between the world’s economic superpowers.

The deal will allow the president to claim a partial but important political victory in his tariff showdown with China which he will showcase as part of his re-election campaign this year.

“Today we take a momentous step, one that has never been taken before with China, towards a future of fair and reciprocal trade,’’ Mr Trump said shortly before signing the agreement with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the White House.

“Together we are righting the wrongs of the past and delivering a future of economic justice and security ... most people thought this could never happen,” he said. He described the deal as a “sea change in international trade’’.

The 86-page deal requires China to buy $US200 billion more US goods over the next two years and take some structural steps to remove unfair trade practices.

These include a pledge by China to give US companies greater access to its financial services, to give greater protection to US intellectual property and to refrain from manipulating the Chinese yuan to assist its exporters.