Published: Fri, February 01, 2019
Business | By Pearl Harrison

Trump upbeat on US-China trade meetings

Trump upbeat on US-China trade meetings

USA and Chinese officials are reportedly in talks to set up a meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping for next month, according to several reports.

The US and China may hold two more rounds of talks before the trade war truce period expires on March 1, a diplomatic source told the SCMP, as both sides fight to avoid a deepening of tensions.

If the two sides can not reach an agreement by 1 March, the USA has said it will increase the tariff rate from 10% to 25% on Chinese goods worth an estimated $200bn.

Trump has set a March deadline for increasing tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent.

While saying that Wednesday's first meetings between American and Chinese negotiators had gone well, Trump added in a morning tweet that "No final deal will be made until my friend President Xi, and I, meet in the near future to discuss and agree on some of the long-standing and more hard points".

Trump, who has engaged in a series of fights with a variety of trade partners since becoming president in 2017, has acted as the final decision-maker in US trade negotiations.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters that drawn-out trade talks with China could hurt the U.S. economy by sapping business confidence.

But compelling China to reform its trade policies and treatment of foreign companies will be hard.

Liu He is also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chief of the Chinese side of the China-U.S. comprehensive economic dialogue.

People familiar with the talks said manufactured goods, a key priority for the Trump administration, were among the largest components of Chinese purchase pledges aimed at significantly reducing the US trade deficit with China.

Trump is scheduled to meet with Liu later in the day. "Without this a deal would be unacceptable!"

Liu is expected to meet Trump on Thursday, US time.

The good news is that the stakes are high enough that the dispute over Huawei probably won't bring things to a halt.

"All of the many problems are being discussed and will be hopefully resolved", he said. The sides planned to engage in 90 days of negotiations with a view to achieving needed structural changes in China that affect trade between the two countries.

They will meet with the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and White House trade advisor Peter Navarro.

"We hear rumblings or rumors there are some offers (by the Chinese delegation to Washington) around IP (intellectual property) enforcement, around the other sensitive issues".

Trump heralded his steel tariffs on Monday as a'big win' for the United States as his trade war with China came under official review by governing organization for global trade.

Last year, U.S. sanctions on another Chinese telecoms company, ZTE, sent waves through the trade negotiations, which produced no breakthrough.

Mr. Trump has threatened to tax every good imported from China unless an agreement can be reached, amounting to an additional more than $250 billion.

According to a person familiar with the meeting agenda, Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were scheduled to give opening remarks at the talks Wednesday morning.

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