Washington: US President Donald trump has said he may host his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at his personal Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida next month to discuss the final terms of a trade deal that is being negotiated by the two countries.
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.
Top trade officials from America and China are currently holding talks in the US to negotiate a comprehensive trade deal before their self-imposed deadline of March 1.
Trump, after his meeting with a visiting Chinese trade delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He, told reporters in the Oval Office of the White House on Friday that he would probably meet Xi nect month.
(I would be meeting Xi) Probably at Mar-a-Largo, probably fairly soon, during the month of March. We have two schedules and we’ll be planning, the US President said.
The meeting, however, depends on the pace of the US-China negotiations on a comprehensive trade deal, he said.
During a dinner summit in Buenos Aires on December 1, the two leaders agreed to give a pause to their trade war and set a deadline of negotiating a trade agreement by March 1. So far, at least eight rounds of talks have been held. Trump said that they have made considerable progress.
I think we are getting along very well. Ultimately, I think the biggest decisions and some even smaller decisions will be made by President Xi and myself and we expect to have a meeting sometime in the not too distant future. And I can only say talks are going along well but we are going to have to see what happens, the US President said.
Trump said that there will be some points that this group will not agree on because maybe they are not supposed to agree on them or allowed to agree on them.
I think President Xi and I will work out the final points perhaps and perhaps not, he said.
Describing the talks as very good, he said there’s a chance that something very exciting could happen.
This is a deal that would be signed by me. I’ve been in touch with Congress. I’ve been telling many of the people in Congress exactly where we are, Trump said.
Currently, the US is getting a 25 per cent tariff on USD 50 billion worth of goods from China in mostly technology. It is also getting a 10 per cent tariff on USD 200 billion worth of goods.
The 10 per cent goes up as of March 1. It goes to a 25 per cent number so we would be getting 25 per cent on USD 250 billion and there’s about USD 267 billion that’s untouched which we discuss later, Trump said.
If we can make a deal, we wouldn’t have to bother with that discussion so we will see what happens but we’ve had very good talks, he said.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the two delegations have made tremendous progress and that the Chinese team has decided to extend their stay in the US for another two days to continue with their negotiations.
If we can successfully conclude, it will be very good for the US business and finally allowing China to open up to US business, he said.
Mnuchin said that the two countries have also reached an agreement on the Chinese currency manipulation.
Let’s stabilize currency, Trump said, adding that the two delegations would have another round of meeting before his summit with Xi.
Trump said that he is willing to extend the March 1 deadline, if he sees substantial progress in the trade talks.
We have a one-time shot at making a great deal for both the countries, and so we are going to give it. So, it depends on where we are. If we’re doing very well on the negotiations, I could see extending that. I don’t think it would have to a long-term extension, he said.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu said: From China, we believe that it is very likely that it will happen, and we hope that ultimately we’ll have a deal. And the Chinese side is ready to make our utmost effort .