Chinese President Xi Jinping met President Barack Obama at the White House during his trip in the US.
The two presidents have said they will take new steps to address cybercrime.
Speaking at a joint news conference at the White House, Barack Obama said they had agreed that neither country would engage in cyber economic espionage.
The deal covers the theft of trade secrets but not national security information.
Xi Jinping also pledged to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
“It has to stop,” he said.
“The question is now, are words followed by action?”
Reflecting on the use of sanctions against either individuals, businesses or state-run companies, Barack Obama said: “We will apply those, and whatever other tools we have in our tool kit, to go after cybercriminals either retrospectively or prospectively.”
Both countries deny taking part in the cybertheft of commercial secrets.
Xi Jinping said the two countries would not “knowingly support” such practices and said they would both abide by “norms of behavior” in cyberspace.
“Confrontation and friction are not the right choice for both sides,” said Xi Jinping, speaking through a translator.
The cybertheft of intellectual property designed to benefit Chinese industry was described by former National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander as “the greatest transfer of wealth in history”.
US officials have alleged that the Chinese state was behind a massive data security breach of government databases as well as attacks on private firms. That kind of breach is not covered by this deal.
Barack Obama thanked Xi Jinping for introducing a cap-and-trade emissions trading system to limit greenhouse gas production.
The White House on September 25 put out a fact sheet on the US and China’s joint national carbon emissions trading scheme set to launch in 2017.
The “cap-and-trade” scheme would see Chinese companies charged to emit pollutants beyond a certain level.
China said it would commit $3.1 billion to help developing countries reduce carbon emissions, along with other initiatives outlined in the fact sheet that would align China’s climate work with that of the US.
There were also areas of sharp disagreement.
Barack Obama expressed concerns about the growing tensions in the South China Sea and criticized China’s human rights record, saying that preventing lawyers, journalists and others from operating freely is an obstacle to China living up to its potential.