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U.S., China sprint to seal deal ahead of Trump's deadline

U.S., China sprint to seal deal ahead of Trump's deadline

US President Donald Trump said on Friday a trade summit with Chinese leader Xi Jinping was likely next month, and hailed two days of "very good talks" by negotiators.

The two sides made a decision to extend the talks by two days till Sunday.

Trump will meet with Vice Premier Liu He, China's top trade negotiator.

A high-powered Chinese delegation is now in the United States for talks with the USA on a trade deal.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, who leads Beijing's team, met this week with Lighthizer and his 11-man US delegation in two days of talks at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

After months of escalating trade friction involving massive extra tariffs on imports from each other, Xi and Trump agreed on December 1 past year that the two countries should manage to reach a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement within 90 days to break the impasse.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is leading the US negotiating team, which also includes Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Trump also said that the two sides have negotiated a deal regarding China's currency manipulation, though he did not provide further details.

The administration contends that Beijing has repeatedly failed to live up to its past commitments to open its markets and to treat foreign companies more fairly.

Gary Clyde Hufbauer, a trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said China may have to remove its tariffs in order to increase purchases of USA goods, but Trump may feel no pressure to roll back the duties he imposed past year. The latter grouping would face the 25 per cent tariffs, too, if no agreement is reached.

Chinese exports have suffered a weak patch amid the dispute, representing a drag on growth with shipments to the US falling for two straight months through January. And countering China's economic rise has become a cornerstone of US foreign policy.




"The big surprise would be a complete removal of tariffs by Trump but I'm expecting an asymmetrical removal of tariffs by China in order to get to some of these numbers", he said.

"From China, it is very likely that it will happen", Chinese trade envoy Liu He said, speaking through an interpreter.

President Donald Trump said Thursday American firms should "step up their efforts" on 5G - superfast fifth-generation wireless networks - while suggesting he was not prepared to block foreign firms from the United States market for the key technology.

The Chinese have lashed back with import taxes on $110 billion in US goods, heavily aimed at soybeans and other agricultural products in an attempt to put pressure on Trump supporters in the USA farm belt. "100 percent", Trump said when asked if he will veto a resolution of disapproval introduced earlier Friday in the House about his border national emergency.

The U.S. has charged Huawei with lying about violating sanctions against Iran and with stealing trade secrets.

China's soybean tariffs have squeezed many American farmers.

China bought about 32 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans in 2017. "Either you are going to make a deal or you're not".

"We're getting closer, we're not there yet".

The source familiar with the talks played down the apparent tension between the top trade negotiator and the president, saying Trump, a former NY businessman, had viewed MOUs from a real estate perspective, while Lighthizer had done so from a trade perspective.

The U.S. -China conflict has rattled markets.

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