China trade deal likely as talks extended: Trump

23rd February, 2019 09:53:57 printer

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Friday a trade summit with Chinese leader Xi Jinping was likely next month, and hailed two days of “very good talks” by negotiators.

The negotiations were extended through Sunday as officials race to reach a deal ahead of a deadline next week when US duty rates are due to rise sharply, reports AFP.

But Trump again said he was considering pushing back the deadline for raising tariffs on more than $200 billion in Chinese exports.

“We expect to have a meeting sometime in a not too distant future,” he said of the meeting with Xi. “Probably fairly soon in the month of March.”

Xi also sounded a positive note in a letter delivered to Trump by China’s lead negotiator Liu He.

The Chinese president expressed hope that the talks maintain “a mutually respectful, cooperative and win-win attitude” and lead to a “mutually beneficial” agreement.

“I am ready to maintain close contact with the President through various means,” state-run China Central Television quoted Xi’s letter saying.

Details remained scant about any concrete progress in the seven-month-old trade war, which has rattled global markets and prompted stark warnings about the risks to the world economy.

“I think there is a very, very good chance that a deal can be made,” Trump told reporters at the White House on a second day of trade negotiations with Chinese officials. “If we are doing well, I could see extending that” deadline for the end of the three month tariff truce.

And Trump said an agreement on currency manipulation will be included in the trade pact. Officials from Beijing also expressed optimism about a positive outcome. “From China, we believe that it is very likely that it will happen,” Liu said, speaking through an interpreter. Global stock markets were higher on expectations the two sides would avoid further deterioration in their trade relations. Wall Street rose to a banner finish, posting its longest streak of weekly gains in nearly 24 years.

Analysts say the two sides are likely to trumpet mutual agreements to resolve the easier parts of the trade dispute — increasing purchases of American goods, more open investment in China and tougher protections for intellectual property and proprietary technology.