No final trade deal until I meet Xi: Trump

President Donald Trump said on Thursday he will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping soon to try to seal a comprehensive trade deal as the top US trade negotiator reported "substantial progress" in two days of high-level talks.
Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He (left), central bank governor Yi Gang (second from left) and members of a high-level trade delegation from China in discussions on Wednesday with US government ministers in Washington.
Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He (left), central bank governor Yi Gang (second from left) and members of a high-level trade delegation from China in discussions on Wednesday with US government ministers in Washington.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

US-Sino talks 'going well', but deal to be made only after leaders agree on 'more difficult points'

WASHINGTON • President Donald Trump said negotiations are going well on the last day of high-level trade talks between the United States and China, but that no deal will be final until he meets Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"Meetings are going well with good intent and spirit on both sides," he said in a series of morning tweets yesterday.

"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 longstanding and more difficult points."

A trade delegation led by Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He - Mr Xi's economic czar who is holding talks with Mr Trump's ministers in Washington this week - has proposed to the US that Mr Trump meet Mr Xi in the tropical Chinese city of Hainan after his planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un late this month, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people briefed on the matter.

The White House did not immediately comment on the report.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer was to lead a second day of negotiations yesterday with Mr Liu, the highest-level talks since Mr Trump met Mr Xi on Dec 1 and declared a 90-day truce aimed at reaching a lasting deal to end the trade war.

Mr Trump was scheduled to meet Mr Liu later yesterday.

 
 
 
 

The US President said in his tweets that he and China's trade representatives are trying to "do a complete deal, leaving NOTHING unresolved on the table".

But he later warned that a trade deal with China would be unacceptable unless Beijing opened its markets to US financial services, manufacturing, agriculture and other industries.

"Without this (China opening its markets) a deal would be unacceptable!"

The White House has said a concluding statement will be released after this week's talks, outlining progress made on core issues such as Chinese technology transfers and intellectual property practices, market access and Beijing's pledge to buy more American goods.

Mr Trump's tweets yesterday were the clearest articulation he has given so far of his desire for a deal to resolve his trade war with China before a March 1 deadline when tariffs on US$200 billion (S$269 billion) in Chinese imports are set to more than double.

That bold declaration is at odds with the consensus view of analysts and many in the business community, who argue that extracting meaningful concessions from China will take time and could potentially require years to verify.

This week's talks began two days after the US charged Chinese telecommunications company Huawei Technologies and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, with conspiring to violate US sanctions on Iran by doing business through a subsidiary it tried to hide.

BLOOMBERG, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2019, with the headline 'No final trade deal until I meet Xi: Trump'. Print Edition | Subscribe