China trade talks going ‘very well’ before high-level parley: U.S. President

Vastavam web: U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday trade talks with China were “going along very well” as the world’s two largest economies try to resolve their seven-month tariff war ahead of a March 1 deadline for a deal. U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of imports from China are scheduled to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent if the two sides don’t reach a deal by then, increasing pain and costs in sectors from consumer electronics to agriculture.

Trump told reporters at the White House his administration has a “big team of people, very talented people, over in China right now, negotiating on the China deal.” Trump’s comments echoed those of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who earlier told reporters in Beijing: “So far, so good,” when asked about the progress of talks.

Mnuchin, along with U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer, arrived in the Chinese capital on Tuesday for meetings with Vice Premier Liu He, the top economic adviser to Chinese President Xi Jinping, on Thursday and Friday. Deputy-level officials started talks on Monday. Trump met with Liu at the White House when a Chinese delegation came to Washington for talks at the end of January. The U.S. president had said on Tuesday that the deadline for an agreement could “slide for a little while,” but he preferred not to do so. Trump added he expects to meet with Xi to close the deal at some point.

Speaking to Fox News on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said: “we’ll see what happens on whether or not the president makes a move to change the deadline.” She also raised the possibility of a meeting between the leaders of the two countries, saying Trump’s personal retreat at Mar-a-Lago in Florida would make a good venue. Trump has said he did not expect to meet with Xi prior to March 1.