US President Donald Trump on Monday signalled that a negotiated trade deal is within reach with China. Will soon have "a signing summit" with the Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, he said. A high-powered Chinese trade delegation led by its Vice President Liu He left Washington on Sunday after four days of extensive talks with American team led by US Trade Representatives Robert Lighthizer. Trump said the Chinese trade delegation could soon be coming back again.
"It looks like they'll be coming back quickly again. And we're going to have another summit. We're going to have a signing summit, which is even better. So hopefully, we can get that completed. But we're getting very, very close," Trump said at a meeting of Governors at the White House.
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The world's two largest economies are locked in a trade war since Trump imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminium items from China in March last year, a move that sparked fears of a global trade war. In response, China, the world's second largest economy after the US, imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of American imports. Last year, Trump imposed tariff hikes of up to 25 per cent on USD 250 billion of Chinese goods. The move prompted China to increase tariffs on USD 110 billion of US goods.
Trump and Xi agreed to halt any further tariff increase for 90 days beginning January 1. Trump cited progress made during trade talks in Washington DC this month as a reason to delay the tariff increase.
Trump had already expressed optimism about the negotiations Friday after meeting with China's vice premier Liu He. The talks concluded on Sunday. Xi also struck a positive tone in a letter Liu delivered to Trump, saying he hoped the negotiations would be held in a "win-win" spirit that would lead to a mutually beneficial agreement.
The Chinese president expressed hope that the talks maintain "a mutually respectful, cooperative and win-win attitude" and lead to a "mutually beneficial" agreement.
A day earlier, the President had said that the two countries were nearing a trade deal.
Trump used the occasion to praise Xi for helping him on fentanyl, an opioid used as a pain medication and for anesthesia, which he said is of the tremendous problem to the US.
Trump referred to the tough laws in China, including a provision of death penalty for them successfully handling the drugs problem.