Two days of closed-door trade talks in Washington between China and the United States culminated in an Oval Office meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.
On Thursday Xinhua reported a statement from the Chinese delegation saying that the latest round of China-U.S. trade talks made “important progress” for the current stage, and the two sides had “candid, specific and fruitful” discussions.
The statement went on to say “Both sides discussed balancing trade, IPR protection, non-tariff barrier, service industry, agriculture and other issues that concern China. Both chief negotiators held candid, specific and fruitful discussions on trade balance, technology transfer, IPR protection, implementation mechanisms. Important progress is made for the stage. Both sides also identified the timetable and roadmap for the upcoming negotiations,” according to Xinhua.
CGTN’s Jessica Stone has this update.
The meeting, which was open to news cameras, gave the strongest indication yet that the world’s two biggest economies may be closer ending a trade war, which has roiled stock markets around the world—hitting both economies.
Welcoming Liu He and the Chinese delegation, the U.S. President called Liu one of the “most respected men in China,” and said a deal “seemed to be coming together.”
China announced that it was buying a large amount of soybeans upfront as a sign of goodwill while negotiations continue. During the meeting the U.S. president asked for a letter from Xi Jinping to be read out loud. After the reading he called it “wonderful.”
Trump went onto say that he and President Xi would meet and when they did every point would be agreed to. “It’s going to be great for both countries,” he said.
Washington’s chief negotiator, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, was less upbeat about the negotiations. He characterized the talks as “Two very intense and long days of discussion.”
He added: “I think we made progress. We have much work to do if we’re going to have an agreement, but we made substantial progress.”
Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin will travel to Beijing soon for follow-up discussions.
The March 1 deadline still stands, said the U.S. president. He said to the Chinese delegation: “I’ll see you a lot more of you over the next month,” suggesting the trade diplomacy is about to become more intense and involve Presidents Trump and Xi directly.