The US has agreed to suspend its next tariff increase for Chinese imports after two days of trade talks in Washington.
US President Donald Trump said the negotiators have reached a "Phase 1 deal" that would include increased purchases in agriculture and the fight against financial services and technology theft.
China's top negotiator Liu He also said he was "satisfied" with the progress.
The US should increase tariffs on some Chinese goods to 30% next week.
US equity markets, which had rallied on reports of a deal, closed higher, but made some gains in the final few minutes as it turned out that each deal was relatively limited.
"A deal, pretty much"
"We came to an agreement that can only be held in writing," Trump said, adding that the negotiators would discuss further stages as soon as these agreements were put on paper.
Trump announced that he might sign the contract with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a United Nations summit in Chile in December.
The US has made progress in similar matters in the past, such as: For example, rising agricultural sales, foreign exchange and currencies were claimed without the dispute being resolved.
Another scheduled pay increase in December is still on the table, said Robert Lighthizer, America's leading trade broker.
The lobby group "Farmers for Free Trade" said that the promise to increase agricultural purchases to $ 40 billion to $ 50 billion was welcome, but noted that the details were meager.
"While we are pleased that tariffs are not rising, this agreement does not appear to help eliminate the crippling tariffs that farmers are currently facing," said Brian Kuehl, co-executive director of the group.
"From the beginning of the trade war, the peasants were promised that their patience would be rewarded, and to this day the promised business has not materialized."
The US and China have imposed tariffs on commodities worth billions of US dollars over the past 15 months, which has affected the global economy.
The US wants better protection of US intellectual property and an end to cyber theft and forced technology transfer to Chinese companies.
China should also reduce industry subsidies and improve US companies' access to Chinese markets.
This week's talks were the first high-level negotiations in more than two months. They began in the context of renewed tensions when the US blacklisted 28 Chinese companies for human rights issues.
Mr Trump said that the range of topics under discussion justifies dividing the negotiations into parts.
"It's going to be such a big deal that I think it's really better to do it in stages and phases," he said.