Donald Trump says trade war may be averted if China's Xi Jinping lowers tariffs

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that the trade "negotiations" between Washington and Beijing were going well, conflicting with Chinese official statements on the dispute.
Trump (above) regarded Xi's "good speech" as conciliatory.
Trump (above) regarded Xi's "good speech" as conciliatory.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - Donald Trump said the US may avert a trade war after a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping that the US President believes indicates China is about to open its markets to more US goods.

"He's going to get rid of a lot of taxes and tariffs," Trump said of Xi in a meeting with Republican lawmakers from states with large agriculture industries, who are particularly concerned about the President's proposed tariffs on Chinese goods.

The two countries may end up levying no new tariffs on each other, Trump said.

Xi pledged a "new phase of opening up" on Tuesday in a keynote address to the Boao Forum for Asia.

While the speech offered little new policy and made no mention of Trump, Xi affirmed or expanded on proposals to increase imports, lower foreign-ownership limits on manufacturing and expand protection to intellectual property - all issues central to the US President's trade complaints.

Trump clearly regarded the remarks as conciliatory, and said again on Thursday that it was a "good speech".

"Very thankful for President Xi of China's kind words on tariffs and automobile barriers," Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday. "Also, his enlightenment on intellectual property and technology transfers. We will make great progress together!"

Talks between the world's biggest economies broke down last week after the Trump administration demanded steps to curtail China's support for high-technology industries, a person familiar with the situation said.

The US has accused China of unfairly subsidising targeted sectors and forcing foreign companies to transfer technology in areas like robotics, aerospace and artificial intelligence.