No deal, but signs of progress in trade talks

World Today

US President Donald Trump (R) takes part in a meeting with China’s Vice Premier Liu He (L) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on February 22, 2019. – Just a week remains to avoid a sharp increase in US duty rates on more than $200 billion in Chinese exports — though Trump has suggested he could extend the March 1 deadline. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

U.S. President Donald Trump said he is optimistic a trade deal with China will be completed soon. Trump met with trade delegations from China and the U.S. in the Oval Office after two days of high-level negotiations aimed at ending a bruising trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies.

CGTN’s Sean Callebs reports.

“I think that we both feel there’s a very good chance a deal will happen,” Trump said.

Though no deal has been struck, both sides agreed to extend talks through Sunday. The Chinese delegation is led by Vice Premier and Special Envoy Liu He, who echoed Trump’s optimistic tone.

“We believe it is very likely that it will happen, and we hope that ultimately we’ll have a deal…the Chinese side is ready to make our utmost effort,” Liu said, speaking through an interpreter.

The Chinese delegation read a letter from Chinese President Xi Jinping to Trump that said in part: “It is my hope that our two sides will continue to work together in a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation and could redouble our efforts so as to meet each other halfway and reach an agreement that works for our mutual benefit Mr. President.”

If no deal is reached by March 1st, U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods are set to rise from 10 percent to 25 percent. Trump declined to waive the deadline, but said he is open an extension if talks continue to make progress. Trump suggested a one-month extension is possible.

Trump said a final deal won’t come together until he can meet in person with President Xi.

“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 some point in the not too distant future and I can only say talks are going along well, but we’re going to have to see what happens. I think there’ll be some points that this group won’t agree on because maybe they’re not supposed to agree on or allowed to agree on. And I think President Xi and I will work out the final points. Perhaps, and perhaps not,” said Trump.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the agreement included several memoranda of understating pertaining to individual issues, including forced technology transfers, financial services and currency stabilization.

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